Cultural Diversity as a Concept of Global Law : Origins, Evolution and Prospects

Burri, Mira (2010). Cultural Diversity as a Concept of Global Law : Origins, Evolution and Prospects. Diversity, 2(8), pp. 1059-1084. MDPI AG 10.3390/d2081059

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“Cultural diversity” has become one of the latest buzzwords on the international policymaking scene. It is employed in various contexts – sometimes as a term close to “biological diversity”, at other times as correlated to the “exception culturelle” and most often, as a generic concept that is mobilised to counter the perceived negative effects of economic globalisation. While no one has yet provided a precise definition of what cultural diversity is, what we can observe is the emergence of the notion of cultural diversity as incorporating a distinct set of policy objectives and choices at the global level. These decisions are not confined, as one might have expected, to cultural policymaking, but rather spill over to multiple governance domains because of the complex linkages inherent to the simultaneous pursuit of economic and other societal goals that cultural diversity encompasses and has effects on. Accounting for these intricate interdependencies, the present article clarifies the origins of the concept of cultural diversity as understood in global law and traces its evolution over time. Observing the dynamics of the concept and the surrounding political and legal developments, the article explores its justification and overall impact on the global legal regime, as well as its discrete effects on different domains of policymaking, such as media, intellectual property and culture. While the analysis is legal in essence, the article is meant to speak also to a broader transdisciplinary public.

The article is part of the speacial issue on ethnic diversity and cultural pluralism, which is available under the creative commons licence:

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute

02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > NCCR International Trade Regulation
02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > Institute of European and International Economic Law

UniBE Contributor:

Burri, Mira


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law








Tihomira Burri

Date Deposited:

26 Aug 2014 09:36

Last Modified:

31 May 2017 10:47

Publisher DOI:





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