Call#: Van Pelt Library P94.65.N7 M38 1996
This book is a detailed look at NAFTA and the cultural industries. The book opens with an explanation of trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT as well as FTA and Cultural Industries. The book questions if culture should be subject to free trade. In the second chapter, John Sinclair examines cultural industries and the theory of cultural dominance and imperialism. Sinclair writes about the difference of cultural products from commodities because their appeal is their novelty and they are not used up when they are consumed. Sinclair questions if national culture should be protected by trade laws and to what extent. In the third chapter, Colin Haskins, Adam Finn and Stuart McFadyen write about TV and film in relation to Canada’s response to US dominance in international trade. This chapter is an examination of different country’s responses to US dominance with an economic focus. They question trade issues asking if they are merely goods, if the US is dumping and why the US dominates in the trade of cultural industries. The last section of the chapter is about Canadian policy and an assessment of their laws in relation to cultural industries. The next chapter in this part of the book, by Henry Newcomb, questions what happens to a culture when it adopts another culture’s methods of producing, understanding and representing their culture. Newcomb says that only cultural industries and not the culture itself can be protected by trade agreements. He looks at the issues and problems in defining cultural industries and how to protect them. The next chapter also concentrates on TV and more specifically the soap opera within the context of global media. Robert C. Allen begins with a brief history of the soap opera. Allen chooses to focus on the Mexican telenovela and compare it to US soap operas. In his comparison of the telenovela and the soap opera, Allen argues that the telenovela is a stronger product in the international market than the US soap opera.
The next section of the book focuses on Mexico and cultural trade and identity. The first chapter, by Carlos Monsivias, is about Mexican nationalism and how the US cultural industries and presence in Mexico affects the sense of nationalism in the country. He claims that the cultural identity needs to stem from adaptability of US culture into the Mexican system because the power of the US cannot be denied. Following this chapter, Nestor Garcia Canclini also writes about the Mexican identity. Canclini says that there will be multicultural and trans-cultural changes and influence within Mexico and its social and cultural policies. Jose Carlos Lozano, in his chapter, focuses on the reception of US cultural industries on the Mexican border and their effects on Mexican culture. This chapter focuses on the people’s response to the opening of Mexico under NAFTA and the effects of US culture on people close to the border. He shows that there is nationalism and that people often prefer the products of their country. The last chapter in this section of the book is by Eduardo Barrera and again deals with issues surrounding NAFTA, cultural industries and the US-Mexico border. He calls the border a laboratory for post modernity. Barrera does a case study on TV in a barrio to look at the effect of the transmission of cultural industries across the border with results that support Lozano’s arguments. The next section of the book focuses on Quebec and issues of trade and national identity. The first chapter shows how cultural industries are important to the survival of cultural identity. Claude Martin writes about how Quebec’s cultural industries are fundamental to the nation, despite their lack of strength when compared to Hollywood. The next chapter, by Roger De La Garde, is a look at TV in Montreal and the effects of free trade on the industry and community. This chapter is similar to those on Mexican border studies, in that it demonstrates a demand and a loyalty to local programming as opposed to English or dubbed-US shows. The following chapter examines best selling books as a representation of Quebec’s support of their authors. Jacques Lemieux and Denis Saint-Jacques claim that in the ten years of the study, Quebecois authors sold more books than US authors. The final chapter on Quebec focuses on the music industry. Line Grenier again demonstrates that the people of Quebec prefer their own music to the US imports. The final part of the book focuses on copyright and contracts. The first chapter focuses on issues surrounding the popular music industry in relation to NAFTA. It explains how music is always changing copyright law and speculates how NAFTA will change to cover new laws and technologies. The final chapter, by Keith Acheson and Christopher J. Maule, is a broader look at copyright, NAFTA and cultural industries. They argue that cultural products are becoming more and more prevalent in daily life and they have an effect on the quality of life. They demonstrate what copyright does and how it interacts with contracts to function in the cultural industries. This book was very interesting and provided a lot of points of view on NAFTA and how it works in terms of trading cultural commodities. The authors’ articles were all different but each section came together to demonstrate common themes and sentiments.