THEORIZING REPATRIATION

Abstract

This contribution is a stab at unpacking the discursive register restitution, return and repatriation. Initially, I map the genealogies of these terms, suggesting that an adequate conceptualization rests on the elementary forms of reciprocity and recognition. I contend that the discursive register can both be understood within neo-Maussian exchange theory as a set of transactional orders resting on sliding scales of obligation and within postcolonial theory hinging on the concept of recognition. I further argue that repatriation claims cannot be conceived independently from the regimes of recognition they address, which both enable and silence claims. I conclude by suggesting that the intersection of reciprocity and recognition might illuminate the institution of cultural property as

a phenomenon of postcolonial potlatching.

Keywords

postcolonial potlatching, recognition, property, objects, repatriation

How to Cite

Skrydstrup, M., (2009) ‚ÄúTHEORIZING REPATRIATION‚ÄĚ, Ethnologia Europaea 39(2), p.54-66. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1054

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  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.

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Martin Skrydstrup (Columbia University)

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