Chapter 16 - Abstract and author bios

16. Culture as a Flexible Concept for the Legitimation of Policies in the European Union

Stefan Groth and Regina F. Bendix

This chapter probes European Union cultural policies related to cultural property, drawing on conventions and declarations from the EU and related bodies. It analyzes notions of culture and their relation to cultural property, providing an analysis of how definitions, discourses and practices are being configured and legitimized in the context of the EU. “Culture” and “cultural property” have grown to be flexible shifters and useful tools for the legitimation of policies beyond cultural concerns. In scrutinizing central dimensions in which “culture” features in EU policies, the chapter illustrates how “culture” and its propertization are used to foster processes of Europeanization.

Stefan Groth is a European Ethnologist/Cultural Anthropologist working on cultural heritage, normative dimensions of everyday culture, sports, and multilateral negotiations. He is a senior researcher and head of the Laboratory of Popular Culture Studies at the Institute of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, University of Zurich. Author of Negotiating Tradition: The Pragmatics of International Deliberations on Cultural Property (Göttingen 2012), he has published on normative dimensions of cultural property, traditional knowledge and intellectual property, and collaborative aspects of cultural heritage.

Regina F. Bendix has taught at the Department of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology at the University of Göttingen, Germany, since 2001. The conceptual and historical work she carried out for her monograph In Search of Authenticity (Madison 1997) fostered her interest in questions at the intersection of culture, the economy and politics. She worked on tourism and heritage and led the multi-year, interdisciplinary research group on “The Constitution of Cultural Property,” in whose framework a number of co-edited volumes such as Heritage Regimes and the State (Göttingen 2013) and Between Imagined Communities and Communities of Practice (Göttingen 2015) have appeared.