The critical celebration of ten years of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO, 2005a) coincides with the 20-year anniversary of that other global policy institution dealing with trade and culture, the World Trade Organization (WTO). Possibly both celebrations will be rather tempered. On the one hand, the fairly rapid negotiation of the 2005 Convention has been followed by slow implementation. On the other hand, WTO members appear unable to find sufficient common ground to finalize the Doha round of negotiations that began in November 2001. In terms of their interinstitutional dialectics in the field of trade and culture, or particularly on the issue of audiovisual services as they are called in the WTO, hardly any change has apparently been realized. This chapter therefore looks back to and takes stock of competing ideas and perspectives on media and cultural diversity in global trade within UNESCO and WTO. In tracing the development of different perspectives on trade and culture, we reconstruct the history of the WTO/UNESCO interinstitutional dialectics by focusing on a number of milestone events and debates. Drawing on Douglass North’s conceptual framework for understanding institutional change, and the persistence of informal rules especially, we argue that notwithstanding the trade and culture debate’s complexity, manifold tensions, and often deeply competing perspectives, the final analysis is not that complicated and allows for optimism.
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- Competing Perspectives? WTO and UNESCO on Cultural Diversity in Global Trade
- Palgrave Macmillan UK