The Limits of Cultural Commodification

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Intellectual property
Cultural heritage
Cultural appropriation
Cultural commodification
Heritage management
Moral economy

The scale, scope, and kinds of things that can be commoditized are expanding in the global framework of late capitalism. Drawing from Marx' original definition of the commodity, commodification is the process by which objects, events and activities come to be evaluated primarily in terms of their exchange value in the context of trade in addition to any use value that such services, identities, and knowledge all have the potential to be commodified. An acceptable commodity in one culture, may be considered inalienable according to another. This causes serious problems for subaltern groups' whose indigenous legal traditions are not incorporated into dominant policy. This presentation explores the limits of cultural commodification, drawing its arguments from the logic of comparative moral economies. 


Alexis Bunten is a Postdoctoral Fellow at SFU and IPinCH Project Ethnographer.


This talk was presented at the IPinCH Cultural Commodification, Indigenous Peoples & Self-Determination Public Symposium held on May 2, 2013 at the University of British Columbia.

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Conference presentation
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