nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2005‒04‒30
two papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Universita degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. The Economics of Books By Marcel F. M. Canoy; Jan C. van Ours; Frederick van der Ploeg
  2. The Translocation of Culture: Migration, Community, and the Force of Multiculturalism in History By Pnina Werbner;

  1. By: Marcel F. M. Canoy; Jan C. van Ours; Frederick van der Ploeg
    Abstract: The tensions between books and book markets as expressions of culture and books as products in profit-making businesses are analysed and insights from the theory of industrial organisation are given. Governments intervene in the market for books through laws concerning prices of books, grants for authors and publishers, a lower value-added tax, public libraries and education in order to stimulate the diversity of books on offer, increase the density of retail outlets and to promote reading. An overview of the different ways by which countries differ in terms of market structures and government policies is given. Particular attention is paid to retail price maintenance. Due to differences between European countries it is not a good idea to harmonise European book policies. Our analysis suggests that the book market seems quite able to invent solutions to specific problems of the book trade and that, apart from promoting reading, there is little need for government intervention.
    Keywords: books, publishers, authors, diversity, monopolistic competition, retail price maintenance, subsidies, libraries, internet
    JEL: D40 D60 L10 L40 Z11
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Pnina Werbner;
    Abstract: In his work on a Welsh border village, Ronald Frankenberg showed how cultural performances, from football to carnival, conferred agency on local actors and framed local conflicts. The present article extends these themes. It responds to invocations by politicians and policy makers of ‘community cohesion’ and the failure of communal leadership, following riots by young South Asians in northern British towns. Against the critique of self-segregating isolationism, the article traces the historical process of Pakistani migration and settlement in Britain, to argue that the dislocations and relocations of transnational migration generate two paradoxes of culture. The first is that in order to sink roots in a new country, transnational migrants in the modern world begin by setting themselves culturally and socially apart. They form encapsulated ‘communities’. Second, that within such communities culture can be conceived of as conflictual, open, hybridising and fluid, while nevertheless having a sentimental and morally compelling force. This stems from the fact, I propose, that culture is embodied in ritual and social exchange and performance, conferring agency and empowering different social actors: religious and secular, men, women and youth. Hence, against both defenders and critics of multiculturalism as a political and philosophical theory of social justice, the final part of the article argues for the need to theorise multiculturalism in history. In this view, rather than being fixed by liberal or socialist universal philosophical principles, multicultural citizenship must be grasped as changing and dialogical, inventive and responsive, a negotiated political order. The British Muslim diasporic struggle for recognition in the context of local racism and world international crises exemplifies this process. Classification-
    Date: 2005–04–20

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