“Neoliberalism and The Proprietary Imagination: A Proliferation of Cultures ‘Before the Law’”
“Neoliberalism and The Proprietary Imagination: A Proliferation of Cultures ‘Before the Law’” (Keynote Lecture). Click HERE to view the conference website.
Conference Keynote Presentation Abstract: Cultural goods are increasingly treated as resources under neoliberal practices of regulatory restructuring and the growing economic significance of informational capital in ‘knowledge economies’ supported by intellectual property and other newer legal regimes. Social collectivities face numerous pressures and incentives to represent and to recognize themselves as bearing unique cultures and stewarding valuable diversity. In international intellectual property deliberations, new regimes for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, and through the ‘biocultural turn’ in environmental conservation politics, newly capacitated ‘communities’ assume a proprietary relationship to an ever greater range of culturalised practices as they simultaneously make themselves legible and legitimate in new fields of political economy. These new forms of neoliberal governmentality, however, also provide new resources for rights-based social struggle in which new legal cultures are imagined and projected through a revitalization of ‘customary law’ as a normative framework for cultural governance. I will draw upon ethnographic examples from Europe, Japan and Latin America, to suggest that the relationship between the legal valuation of cultural goods and the heterogeneity of legal cultures is a dialectical one fueled by narratives of loss, belonging and responsibility.
Law’s Plurality: Narrative, Gender, Cultures
International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, University of Giessen, Germany
May 7, 2015