Preventing Plunder

Asif Efrat

in Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199760305
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950010 | DOI:
Preventing Plunder

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This chapter examines the domestic and international political conflicts underlying the cooperative efforts against the plunder of antiquities. The first section introduces illicit trade in antiquities. The second section explores the battle between source countries, who have advocated stringent international regulation of antiquities, and market countries, who have questioned the desirability and feasibility of such regulation. The third section explains why the United States reversed its liberal approach to the movement of cultural material, joined the international efforts against looting, and established controls on antiquities—to the benefit of foreign countries facing archaeological plunder and to the detriment of the U.S. art market. The fourth section explores Britain's surprising accession to the UNESCO Convention in 2002, after having rejected it for more than three decades. The American and British cases both demonstrate how temporal changes in preferences can bring previously reluctant governments to cooperate against illicit trade.

Keywords: political conflicts; international cooperation; plunder; cultural materials; UNESCO Convention; Britain; United States; source countries; market countries

Chapter.  25754 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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