Culture and Law

One of the greatest contributions of the twentieth century was undoubtedly the expansion of the concept of culture. One of the consequences of the amplification of the notion of culture was that it permeated all social disciplines, and law was evidently no exception. Research into law and culture was somewhat belated but has recently yielded a multitude of interesting literature and relevant inquiries. This important volume brings together meditations from some of the leading scholars in the field.
Jorge Sánchez Cordero
Ius Comparatum
book | forthcoming | 1st edition
April 2023 | ii + 255 pp.


ISBN 9781839703263

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Publication date: April 17, 2023


Research at the intersection between culture and law is intrinsically interdisciplinary, as was the case with academia that explored cultural processes. Law and the social sciences have always been reluctant to employ notions as ambiguous as culture.

Beyond the resulting controversy, which stems from conflicting conceptions of culture (or cultures) and civilization (or civilizations), it can be agreed upon that within every society exists a cultural life of greater or lesser wealth, or of more or less development, orientated towards one or even several different areas. The concept of culture is markedly expansive and includes values, beliefs, languages, knowledge, the arts, traditions, and institutions, as well as the way of life through which a person or group express the meanings given to their existence and development.

Many topics of the intertwinement of culture and law are represented and developed in this volume. These include:

- The interconnectedness of food, cultural heritage and how they are influenced by international law and how connecting food to indigenous people, demonstrates the biodiversity of people.

- The two faces of private art collectors are outlined in this volume; partnerships between public and private collections are encouraged, but responsible collaboration requires trust. Public access should be supported without of course encouraging looting.

- The idea that cultural exchange also promotes human rights is emphasized, and the role of legal trade and the compilation of legal collections are highlighted.

- The relation between copyright and traditional knowledge is subjected to a thorough analysis. The determination and transfer of ownership or better the relationship to cultural artifacts/collections is among others the key problems.

- The parallels between the protection of culture, on the one hand, and the protection of nature, on the other is also addressed. The link between the protection of culture and the protection of the environment is internationally recognized; however, the impact of climate change on culture was recognized very late, only in 2015 by the Paris Agreement, which, for the first time, explicitly referred to human rights. It becomes abundantly clear that climate change is a cultural problem, as outlined in this volume.

The theoretical exercise of capturing culture from legal perspectives results in several conclusions, one of which is that culture is a collective good which is subject to law. This collection brings this idea to the fore across its varied and engaging contributions, making an important intervention on the interaction between culture and law.

JORGE SÁNCHEZ CORDERO is a legal practitioner and public notary in Mexico City. He has represented the Government of Mexico in several diplomatic conferences and is a former judge of the Mexican Electoral Federal Court. He is Director of the Mexican Center of Uniform Law; Vice President of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Legal Science of UNESCO (IALS); Member of the Committee on Participation in Global Cultural Heritage Governance of the International Law Association (ILA); Member of the Governing Council and of the Permanent Committee of UNIDROIT; Member of the Board of Directors of the International Cultural Property Society (ICPS) and of the Board of Scholars at Risk; Member of the American Law Institute and Fellow of the European Law Institute; and Member and former Vice President of the International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL).

Table of Contents

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About the series:

Ius Comparatum

The Ius Comparatum series covers all areas of law. It contains the general reports as well as the special reports (national and non-national) of the General Congresses and Thematic Congresses of the International Academy of Comparative Law as well as publications related to the Academy’s activities. The books are published in English and French.

Founding Editors
Jürgen Basedow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg, Germany
George A. Bermann, Columbia University, New York, USA

Series Editors
Katharina Boele-Woelki, Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Diego P. Fernández Arroyo, Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), Paris, France

Editorial Board Members
Joost Blom, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Vivian Curran, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Giuseppe Franco Ferrari, Università Bocconi, Milan, Italy
Makane Moïse Mbengue, Université de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
Marilda Rosado de Sá Ribeiro, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ulrich Sieber, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg, Germany
Dan Wei, University of Macau, Macau, China

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