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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The political economy of the illicit trade in African artifacts
Author:Scruggs, L.A.
Periodical:The African Review: A Journal of African Politics, Development and International Affairs
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:illicit trade
visual arts
Art, Architecture, Music, Drama
Works of art
international trade
Resources exploitation
Abstract:The illegal trade in African artifacts is a major source of the exodus of artifacts from Africa. In the West it is a lucrative business. The author analyses the current international trade in African artifacts and demonstrates how this situation is a manifestation of the broader political and economic system that perpetuates the underdevelopment of Africa. In this system 'entrepreneurs' from both Africa and the West make huge profits out of artifacts by stealing them or smuggling them through customs in Africa. The art-collecting States continue to use the benefits of their position in the world economy to profit from Africa's art and culture. Despite export restrictions and various measures intended to monitor what artifacts leave African countries, there is an elaborate system of legal loopholes, primarily in the collecting States, many of which do not even recognize claims on illegally exported artifacts. Whatever the reason, whether to make money from Africa's heritage or to help 'modernize' Africa, the continued pillage of archaeological sites and relics in Africa is tantamount to the abolition of culture. Bibliogr., note.