Accepted Paper:

The legal geographies of cultural rights: community subjects and their traditions  


Rosemary Coombe (York University)

Paper long abstract:

Legal claims made using the rubric of culture appear to be multiplying under conditions of neoliberalism and many of these at first glance appear proprietary and possessive in nature. Intellectual property has been called upon to embrace these claims, to adapt itself to the requirements of new ‘stakeholders’ and their needs for ‘development’ at the same time as it has been emphatically rejected by many indigenous peoples’ representatives and the environmental stakeholders who support them. Nonetheless, place-based movements are emerging that make distinctive claims in cultural terms, asserting ‘local’ norms and values that are nonetheless shaped by global networks of influence, NGO energies, transnationally circulating documents, and international treaties on biodiversity, indigenous rights, and intangible heritage. Culturally constituted ‘communities’ with newly articulated relationships to their ‘traditions’ are subjects of legal technologies; to what extent and under what conditions may they also be political agents for transforming them?

Panel Plen3
Rosemary Coombe