In a bit more than one decade, culture has become a crucial issue of the globalization process. In fact, the IT revolution along with the development of transport, the increase of the international commercial exchanges and foreign investments, and the constitution of multinational conglomerates in the cultural sector (television, books, music, and cinema) combined to turn globalization\'s cultural issues into a battlefield where States are at odds.
Far from being of lesser importance, debates on culture in the globalization process are paramount for fundamental questions stem from them. Is the globalization process jeopardizing cultural diversity or favoring cultural exchanges and therefore cultural and intellectual enrichment? Is it legitimate for States to implement their own policies in order to protect and develop their own cultural identity, expression and industry? Should cultural goods be integrated to the global market, on the basis of free-trade? How can the development of cultural exchanges worldwide be regulated in order to avoid both cultural hegemony and nationalistic protectionism?
[...] Global context of the cultural industry The IT revolution and the increased interdependence caused by globalization enhanced the exchanges of cultural goods. Moreover, the supports are now more and more standardized: ISBN codes for books, DVD zones standards, etc. Websites such as GoogleBooks or amazon also facilitate the internationalization of the culture market. This allows French authors to be read everywhere in the world and Japanese films to broadcasted in Mexico. In a way, it thus allows cultural diversity to prevail given citizens of the “global village” have access to a large variety of cultural goods. [...]
[...] A pro-active approach First of all, France needs to show that its policies in favor of national creation (CNC subsidies as an instance) are not a mere shield to protect French markets from foreign powerful corporations. French policies based on the cultural exception should be efficient in giving French artists the opportunity to express them and to look for quality instead of economic profits. This would also prove those who consider that “exception française” and cultural exception are synonyms wrong. [...]
[...] This notion aims at preventing a uniform “global culture” stemming from the American model- to prevail, by protecting cultural goods from the laws of competition, market and free-trade. “L'exception française” is much vaguer a notion. It refers to the idea that within the globalization process, France has values, models and peculiarities to protect at all costs and that it should not abide by the rules imposed by globalization. It can be used in order to defend French social model, culture and history, state-firms, etc. [...]
[...] In fact, the question of the exceptional nature of cultural goods was first addressed in 1947, when the negotiators of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade agreed on the 4th Article of the Agreement which grants the States with the right to implement quotas and policies that impose a given percentage of national productions to be broadcasted. But in reality, the first global debate on this issue was triggered by the conclusion of the GATT Uruguay Round in 1994. [...]
[...] This is why some nations claim the existence of a cultural exception and allege that cultural goods should be protected from pure market rules. France is considered as the most important advocator of this notion. Since 1959 it has implemented protectionist policies to defend its cultural production. But this attitude triggers controversy because it goes against globalization's driving force: development of complete free-trade. Moreover, it is often misunderstood and intermingled with the notion of “exception française”. This is why France should Endeavour to [...]
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