Intangible Cultural Heritage

A life worth remembering. Thoughts on Oral History and community’s collective memory


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Marta Carmezim Gonçalves

NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Lisbon, Portugal

MEMORIAMEDIA Review 6. Art.6. 2021




 photo: Unknown author / Memória Imaterial edition


The present essay is based on an ethnographic research started in 2018 and still ongoing, focused on the collective memory, life stories and ultimately, Intangible Cultural Heritage, of the rural community of Mafra, Portugal, during the first half of the 20th century.

Taking that main research as a basis, this essay does not focus its attention in that specific community. In fact, it seeks to illustrate how Oral History works as the main research methodology when dealing with the study of smaller communities that share cultural and behavioural patterns, using the rural community as an example of that role.

All in all, this article intends to recognize the importance of Oral History when trying to preserve the memory of a community that shares cultural elements, behaviours, beliefs and practices and how it impacts everyday life, both in the past and present of that community.  



Keywords: , life stories, ethnographic research, cultural-sharing communities