Movies and television programs are marketed commercially but imbued with cultural meaning. This tension between commerce and culture incites political conflicts internationally and in domestic politics. Trade in filmed entertainment returns generous profits to producers and distributors of exported content, and to businesses that acquire the rights to screen it; this trade also often provokes resistance from producers, performers, and professionals in national entertainment industries. In trade negotiations, the United States has long pushed for greater commercial freedom, while many other countries at various junctures have called for a ‘cultural exception’ in international trade agreements.
Joining analytical narrative with the visual display of data, Commerce and Culture investigates a range of countries and trade negotiations over a century’s time to uncover where and why trade and culture has been most contentious. Its novel explanation of varied state responses to trade in filmed entertainment emphasizes the interplay of commerce and culture: the size of a country’s market and its cultural ties to the United States, the largest consumer market of all. Using a novel method of comparison, the extent of shared ancestry in the languages spoken in different places, the analysis incorporates cultural relationships that political economy research generally omits. Through this interplay of commerce and culture in the political arena, the manuscript interprets the contentious politics of government regulation of filmed entertainment from the dawn of the trade regime to the present.
Sample chapter: Puzzles (chapter 1)
Sample chapter: Rules (chapter 5)