Legal Claims to Culture in and Against the Market: Neoliberalism and the Global Proliferation of Meaningful Difference
Law, Culture and the Humanities 32-55, 2005
Reprinted in Eve Darien-Smith, ed., Ethnography and Law (a volume in the International Library of Essays in Law and Society, Aldershott: Ashgate Publishing, 2007) 95-115
18 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2014
Date Written: 2005
Under conditions of neoliberalism legal claims to protect, preserve, maintain, and to exploit culture have assumed a new urgency. Cultural diversity has become a matter of state concern and fears of cultural homogenization animate movements to promote a revitalized realm of cultural policy Municipal governments see cultural amenities, attractions, and social values as important resources to attract labor and capital and engage in cultural planning exercises as they seek to brand urban space. Rural spaces become culturalised as traditions are constructed to establish market distinctions for local goods and traditional knowledge is valorized in international environmental treaties. But if culture is clearly delineated for the purposes of state management and the creation of new intellectual properties, it is also evoked in anti-globalization movements that contest growing forms of corporate hegemony. Finally, we witness the emergence of a new cultural politics of difference in place-based movements that draw upon international indigenous and human rights traditions to establish their claims to livelihood resources, territories, and cultural survival. Critical scholarship is needed to explore the conditions under which neoliberal regimes of governmentality are supported and challenged by the legal recognition of cultural assertions and the stakes and limitations of cultural claims.
Keywords: Culture, Neoliberalism, Governmentality
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