Cultural property is a field of law and politics that has expanded dramatically in the past two decades. The review explores the international legal, political, economic, and technological terrain in which possessive relations to cultural forms have been articulated and incited, as well as the revitalization of human rights claims premised upon cultural grounds. Changing practices, behaviors, attitudes, and protocols regarding cultural heritage both index and reflect transformations in social relationships that are indicative of larger patterns of late modernity and decolonization. This premise is illustrated through considerations of changing practices in cultural heritage preservation, archaeological and curatorial relationships to indigenous heritage properties, development institutions and programs, uses of intellectual property, and the treatment of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression. A new body of negotiated is emerging in a space of unprecedented legal pluralism that constitutes a significant area for sociolegal inquiry.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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