This collection explores a variety of contemporary and historical issues related to the trade in cultural commodities between cultures, countries and continents. The contributors write from a variety of perspectives within the fields of film, television and cultural studies, and all touch upon the distinctiveness of cultural expression and the effects of the migration of cultural commodities across national boundaries. In UNESCO's language of international diplomacy, the promotion of cultural diversity has emerged, along with biodiversity, as a new ethical imperative. In 2005 its General Council - with the dissent of only two member states - supported the creation of a new international treaty, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. In exploring some of the links between cultural and economic power, this book echoes the concerns of the Convention - that the neo-liberal international trading regime may have the consequence of reducing the public expression of cultural differences.
However, the contributors reveal some of the complexities and contradictions of international trade and cultural exchange whether in the growing cultural markets of China, Brazil and India or in the two-way flows of largely Anglo-Saxon north Atlantic exchanges. And behind these investigations lie some larger questions about the links between cultural expression, cultural suppression and political violence.
Sylvia Harvey is Professor of Broadcasting Policy and Co-director of the Centre for Media Policy, Regulation, and Ethics at the University of Lincoln, U.K. Her recent publications are on film and broadcasting policy in the journals Screen and Political Quarterly.