Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Sean A. Pager and Adam Candeub
Chapter 9: Cultural Protectionism 2.0: Updating Cultural Policy Tools for the Digital Age
Mira Burri* 9.1 INTRODUCTION Cultural protectionism has been an element of national and foreign policies as an extension of state sovereignty1 and expressed in both defensive and offensive manners. While the generic protectionist formula in the sense of restraining trade between states through measures such as import tariffs or quotas, and through privileging domestic production, has somewhat disintegrated over time under the rationale for free trade and the strong practical evidence of its benefits, the particular case of cultural protectionism has persevered. Over the years, it has developed many and different expressions and has undergone an important ideological revamping, moving from “cultural exception” to “cultural diversity” policies. The enquiry into the cultural protectionism discourse is however not the core objective of this chapter. It only intends to set the scene for its certainly more ambitious goal of exploring cultural protectionism 2.0, that is, the normative dimensions of cultural diversity policies in the global digital space, asking what adjustments are needed and, in fact, how feasible the entire project of diversity regulation in this environment may be. The complexities of the shift from offline to online and from analogue to digital, and the inherent policy challenges, will be illustrated with some (positive and negative) instances of existing media initiatives. Taking into account the specificities of cyberspace and in a forward-looking manner, I propose some adjustments to current media policy practices in order to serve better the goal of sustainably diverse cultural environment. Thanks for invaluable guidance and feedback are owed to...
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