In debates over the trade in archaeological objects or antiquities, on one end are those who believe that everyone has a shared interest in and claim to the common heritage of humanity, and thus support a vibrant and legal trade in cultural materials. On the other end are those who believe that cultural objects have special significance for specific groups and thus support the efforts of such groups to regulate their trade and seek their repatriation. The aim of this Essay is to critically examine the components of each group's arguments--their goals, assumptions, and inconsistencies--and try, where possible, to identify what implicit concerns may be driving their current stances in the debate. For it is only when we unpack the individual positions and arguments of the different stakeholders in the antiquities debates that we may move the discussion forward from its current stalemate and develop more nuanced policies, which not only may represent pragmatic solutions, but might better satisfy the many interests involved.
Alexander A. Bauer,
New Ways of Thinking About Cultural Property: A Critical Appraisal of the Antiquities Trade Debates,
31 Fordham Int'l L.J. 690
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol31/iss3/4