Book : Negotiating Cultural Rights

Negotiating Cultural Rights

Issues at Stake,

Challenges and Recommendations

Edited by Lucky Belder and Helle Porsdam

Edward Elgar
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78643 541 5


The various reports on cultural rights by UN Special Rapporteur Faridah Shaheed have provided a new universal standard for topics ranging from cultural diversity, cultural heritage, the right to artistic freedom and the effects of today’s intellectual property regimes. This book’s team of international contributors reflects upon the many aspects of cultural rights discussed in Faridah Shaheed’s reports and discusses how cultural rights support cultural diversity, foster intercultural dialogue and contribute to inclusive social, economic and political development.

Drawing from a range of disciplines, the contributing authors explore the meaning and position of cultural rights and the implications these may have for international relations, the international legal order and cross-cultural understanding, while also offering recommendations for the future. Key topics discussed include the link between culture and science, gender and human rights, rights to artistic freedom, the importance of historical narratives and the impact of advertising and marketing on the enjoyment of cultural rights.

This worthwhile contribution to the current cultural rights debate will be of interest to academics and students teaching and studying in the fields of culture, heritage and human rights as well as policymakers who are working within cultural rights related issues.

Lucky Belder, Senior Researcher, Renforce Research Programme, Europa Institute, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Helle Porsdam, Professor of Law and Humanities and UNESCO Chair in Cultural Rights, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
S. Amin, L. Belder, Y. Donders, H. Hagtvedt Vik, L. Hughes, J. Kall, F. Macmillan, M. Mann, H. Porsdam, D. Shabalala, F. Shaheed, S. Teilmann-Lock


Introduction: Outlining the field of cultural rights and its importance
Lucky Belder and Helle Porsdam

1. The United Nations Cultural Rights Mandate: Reflections on the significance and challenges
Farida Shaheed

2. Implementing cultural rights (Nature, issues at stake and challenges) – Report 2010 (A/HRC/14/36)
Lotte Hughes

3. The right of access to and enjoyment of cultural heritage – Report 2011 (A/HRC/17/38)
Lucky Belder

4. The right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications – Report 2012 (A/HRC/20/26)
Helle Porsdam and Matthias Mann

5. The enjoyment of cultural rights by women on an equal basis with men – Report 2012 (A/67/287)
Yvonne Donders

6. The right to freedom of expression and creativity – Report 2013 (A/HRC/23/34)
Shahira Amin

7. Corporate interests and artistic voices: the Plesner case
Stina Teilmann-Lock

8. History, memory and memorialization processes – Report 2013 – 2014 (A/68/296, 2013 and A/HRC/25/49, 2014)
Hanne Hagtvedt Vik

9. The impact of commercial advertising and marketing practices on the enjoyment of cultural rights – Report 2014 (A/69/286)
Dalindyebo Shabalala

10. Copyright policy and the right to science and culture – Report 2015 (A/HRC/28/57)
Fiona Macmillan

11. Patent policy and the right to science and culture – Report 2015 (A/70/279)
Jannice Käll



Anthropology of Law, Rights and Governance (LAW NET)


This network serves as a platform for exchange and collaboration for EASA members who are interested in law, rights discourses and the practices of governing. It is the outcome of a merger of the Network for the Anthropology of Law and Rights and the Network for the Anthropology of International Governance in 2016.

The new network’s interests include the codified law and specialised agencies of the modern nation-state and the wide range of customary legal and indigenous political institutions that have been studied by anthropologists since the early 20th century. It also reflects the increasing importance of mechanisms of private governance and authority exercised by powerful corporations and by networks representing financial and business interests. In addition, the network pays particular attention to the transnational and international dimension, especially the anthropology of international organisations, international human rights discourse, international indigenous rights, migration law, and international development.

Members of the network examine how various and often contradictory norms are produced and contested across scales through complex processes of formal and informal negotiation and mechanisms of participation. For example, civil society organisations and representatives of indigenous communities transcend the boundaries of the nation-states to draw attention to local problems at the international level and contribute to the emergence of global vocabularies and discourses. International actors in turn present themselves as working on a different scale from the local, but also claim a level of expertise about the situation ‘on the ground’. The international is thus enmeshed with local and national processes, and although it may seek to produce a sense of transcendence, it is always concretely located.

Current legal and political anthropological research examines

  • the co-existence of multiple normative orders (legal pluralism) in modern nation-states and beyond,
  • indigenous peoples’ legal systems and their claims against governments and private interests,
  • international human rights discourse,
  • asylum and refugee law as well as
  • banking, environmental and health regulations (to name just a few)
  • the making and implementation of development policies and projects
  • contemporary technologies and practices of governing and management.

To facilitate discussions and the development of exciting, cutting-edge research LAW NET maintains an active mailing list sharing information on publications, vacancies, funding opportunities and events. In addition, to the biannual EASA conference the network plans to hold regular workshops across Europe.

The network is keen to reach out to other associations and networks. For instance, it maintains a close relationship with the Commission of Legal Pluralism and Allegra, the virtual lab of legal anthropology.

For further information please contact Gerhard Anders, University of Edinburgh, and Birgit Müller, LAIOS CNRS/EHESS.

Commission on Legal Pluralism

Commission on Legal Pluralism

Website :

The Commission on Folk Law and Legal Pluralism -as it was originally called- was established in 1978 by the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), and affiliated with the International Association of Legal Science (IALS), on the initiative of professor G. van den Steenhoven, of the Institute of Folk Law, Nijmegen University, the Netherlands.

By September 2017 more than 350 lawyers, anthropologists and other social scientists, representing all regions of the world and concerned with legal pluralism in both theory and practice, were participants in the activities of the Commission. The growth of the Commission reflects a growing awareness of the contemporary existence of legal plurality, not only in countries with indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, but also in the industrialised societies as such.

The Commission on Legal Pluralism furthers knowledge and understanding of legal pluralism, with a focus upon theoretical and practical problems resulting from the interaction of different types of law, such as state law, international and transnational law, religious law, and customary law. It provides a meeting ground for the concerns of social and legal sciences in the study of law in society and the resulting power relations, and in the resolution of social problems.

Among its main activities are the organization of international symposia; the initiation and encouragement of Regional Working Groups in different parts of the world; the organization and delivery of courses and summer schools on legal pluralism; and the publication of the Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law (JLP- thrice every year)

The Commission’s first scientific symposium was held in Bellagio, Italy, in 1981 on the theme « State Institutions and their Use of Folk Law ». The second, on « The Actual and Legal Position of Ethnic and Cultural Minorities », took place in Vancouver, in 1983. Two symposia were held in 1986: in Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany, on « Formal and Informal Social Security », and in Sydney, on « Folk Law and Indigenous Rights – A Comparative Perspective ». Since 1986, a long series of symposia were held in Zagreb (Yugoslavia, 1988), in Ottawa (Canada, 1990), in Amsterdam (Netherlands, 1991), in Wellington (New Zealand, 1992), Mexico City (Mexico, 1993), Accra (Ghana, 1995), Moscow (Russia, 1997), Williamsburg (U.S.A. 1998), Arica (Chile, 2000), Chiang Mai (Thailand, 2002), Fredericton (Canada, 2004), Jakarta (Indonesia, 2006), Zurich (Switzerland, 2009), Cape Town (South Africa 2011), Manchester (UK, 2013). The most recent congress took place in Mumbai, India in 2015.

Membership is open to anyone with a serious and substantial scholarly or practical commitment to or involvement in the field of legal pluralism. Those interested in joining are invited to register as a member at Groupspaces at or contact the Executive Secretary Dr. Giselle Corradi:

Commission on Legal Pluralism

New location and date for the next biennial course and conference of the Commission on Legal Pluralism: 17-24 August 2018, Ottawa, Canada

In March, the Executive Body of the Commission on Legal Pluralism decided to postpone and relocate the course and conference planned for August 2017 in Syracuse, NY. This decision was taken in response to worries over the US government’s travel ban and the increased hostility to Muslims and other visitors to the United States at immigration and customs.

The University of Ottawa has graciously offered to host the Legal Pluralism conference and course in August of 2018. The conference will take place from 22 to 24 August 2018, as usual preceded by our course from 17 to 20 August. Please mark these dates in your calendar!

The theme of the conference ‘Citizenship, Legal Pluralism and Governance in the Age of Globalization’ remains unchanged. Please find here a renewed call for panels, which is open until 31 October 2017. While all accepted panels are of course very welcome again, we need everyone to re-submit their panels to confirm they want to partake in the 2018 conference. We also invite new panel proposals.

Prior to the conference, we will organise an international course, covering theories, knowledge and methodologies of legal pluralism. Accepted candidates for the course in Syracuse will also be contacted about their participation in the 2018 course. Additional interested candidates can apply until 1 November 2017. If you are interested in learning more about the course, please have a look here!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at We are hoping to see many of you in Ottawa in August of 2018!

CALL : CfP for the Penal « Archive, Promise, and the Future in African Contexts »

CfP for the Penal « Archive, Promise, and the Future in African Contexts » at the African Studies Association in Germany (VAD e.V.)

Conference, 27-30 June 2018 in Leipzig, Germany.

Deadline for handing in abstracts is (already) November, 30th 2017 via this link:

Penal Outline:

This panel addresses the relation between promise, archive, and the future, and how the archive forms memory and creates a tension between the past and the living present, the past and the future, and between the actual and the virtual in African contexts. The structure of the archive not only preserves but shapes memory and is always future-oriented. As Derrida explains in Archive Fever: “the archivization produces as much as it records the event.” We are interested in how the archive embraces contradictory experiences of irredeemable losses in the past and the future hope. In African contexts, the archive continues to remain instrumental in bringing to the fore these contradictory experiences and at the same time lies in the ‘experience of the promise.’

We are specifically interested in promises and well as challenges of the archive in regard to access to the past, the forming of memory and imagination of history, postcolonial and decolonial knowledge practices, the establishment of evidence and facts, the workings of denial and denunciations based on archival work and its prospect of comparison, the possibilities and limits of practices of critique.
Contributions should trace some of the connections and disconnections, conceptions and misconceptions, access and exclusion regarding knowledge and comparison in relation to archival practices. Specific interest will be paid to forms of organization, writing, technologies of inscription, laws, everyday practices and narratives that accompany the archive and its quest toward memory making, knowledge preservation, but also ignorance, denial, or forgetting.

Stefanie Bognitz (University of Halle-Wittenberg)
Fazil Moradi (University of Halle-Wittenberg)

Contact :
Stefanie Bognitz, PhD Fellow

Research Network Law, Organisation, Science and Technology
Chair of Prof Dr Richard Rottenburg
Department for Social Anthropology and Philosophy
Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology
University of Halle
Reichardtstraße 11
06114 Halle


Forthcoming publication:

BOOK : Competing Responsibilities : The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life

Competing Responsibilities : The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life

Susanna Trnka & Catherine Trundle (ed.)

Duke University Press

March 2017
ISBN: 0822363755


Description :

  • Noting the pervasiveness of the adoption of « responsibility » as a core ideal of neoliberal governance, the contributors to Competing Responsibilities challenge contemporary understandings and critiques of that concept in political, social, and ethical life. They reveal that neoliberalism’s reification of the responsible subject masks the myriad forms of individual and collective responsibility that people engage with in their everyday lives, from accountability, self-sufficiency, and prudence to care, obligation, and culpability. The essays—which combine social theory with ethnographic research from Europe, North America, Africa, and New Zealand—address a wide range of topics, including critiques of corporate social responsibility practices; the relationships between public and private responsibilities in the context of state violence; the tension between calls on individuals and imperatives to groups to prevent the transmission of HIV; audit culture; and how health is cast as a citizenship issue. Competing Responsibilities allows for the examination of modes of responsibility that extend, challenge, or coexist with the neoliberal focus on the individual cultivation of the self. 

  • Table of contents :

    Introduction. Competing Responsibilities: Reckoning Personal Responsibility, Care for the Other, and the Social Contract in Contemporary Life / Susanna Trnka and Catherine Trundle 1
    Part I. Theoretical Departures
    1. Making Us Resilient: Responsible Citizens for Uncertain Times / Nikolas Rose and Filippa Lentzos 27
    2. Attunement: Rethinking Responsibility / Jarrett Zigon 49
    Part II. States, Companies, and Communities
    3. Reciprocal Responsibilities: Struggles over (New and Old) Social Contracts, Environmental Pollution, and Childhood Asthma in the Czech Republic / Susanna Trnka 71
    4. Audit Culture and the Politics of Responsibility: Beyond Neoliberal Responsibilization? / Cris Shore 96
    5. From Corporate Social Responsibility to Creating Shared Value: Contesting Responsibilization and the Mining Industry / Jessica M. Smith 118
    Part III. Violence
    6. « The Information Is Out There »: Transparency, Responsibility, and the Missing in Cyprus / Elizabeth Anne Davis 135
    7. Justice and Its Doubles: Producing Postwar Responsibilities in Sierra Leone / Rosalind Shaw 156
    Part IV. Intimate Ties
    8. The Politics of Responsibility in HIV / Barry D. Adam 181
    9. Responsibilities of the Third Age and the Intimate Politics of Sociality in Poland / Jessica Robbins-Ruszowski 193
    10. Genetic Bystanders: Familial Responsibility and the State’s Accountability to Veterans of Nuclear Tests / Catherine Trundle 213
    References 233
    Contributors 263
    Index 267

    Contributors :
    Barry D. Adam, Elizabeth Anne Davis, Filippa Lentzos, Jessica Robbins-Ruszkowski, Nikolas Rose, Rosalind Shaw, Cris Shore, Jessica M. Smith, Susanna Trnka, Catherine Trundle, Jarrett Zigon

    About The Author(s) :

    Susanna Trnka is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Auckland and coeditor of Senses and Citizenships: Embodying Political Life.

    Catherine Trundle is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington and coeditor of Detachment: Essays on the Limits of Relational Thinking.