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Rethinking Commodification: Cases and Readings in Law and Culture (Critical America)by Martha M. Ertmann
Synopses & Reviews
What is the price of a limb? A child? Ethnicity? Love? In a world that is often ruled by buyers and sellers, those things that are often considered priceless become objects to be marketed and from which to earn a profit. Ranging from black market babies to exploitative sex trade operations to the marketing of race and culture, Rethinking Commodification presents an interdisciplinary collection of writings, including legal theory, case law, and original essays to reexamine the traditional legal question: ̶To commodify or not to commodify?”
In this pathbreaking course reader, Martha M. Ertman and Joan C. Williams present the legal cases and theories that laid the groundwork for traditional critiques of commodification, which tend to view the process as dehumanizing because it reduces all human interactions to economic transactions. This "canonical" section is followed by a selection of original essays that present alternative views of commodification based on the concept that commodification can have diverse meanings in a variety of social contexts. When viewed in this way, the commodification debate moves beyond whether or not commodification is good or bad, and is assessed instead on the quality of the social relationships and wider context that is involved in the transaction. Rethinking Commodification contains an excellent array of contemporary issues, including intellectual property, reparations for slavery, organ transplants, and sex work; and an equally stellar array of contributors, including Richard Posner, Margaret Jane Radin, Regina Austin, and many others.
Book News Annotation:
One result of the entire world becoming a marketplace is that setting a price for just about anything becomes a part of everyday life, despite our protests that we are in fact making moral, social and legal decisions based upon altruistic laws or at least private compassion. In this course reader, contributors examine how far commodification has come in terms of the law, and what some propose to do about advancing it or causing it to retreat. General topics covered include definitions of the concepts of commodity and commodification, and classic texts on parental rights and obligations and defaulting to freedom or to equity. From new voices come material on commodifying intellectual and cultural property, commodifying identities, and commodifying intimacies such as sex, care, individual relations, bodies and body parts.
Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Since its dramatic growth under Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association during the 1920s, black nationalism has played a central role in American political and intellectual life. In Modern Black Nationalism, William L. Van Deburg has collected the most influential speeches, pamphlets, and articles that trace the development of black nationalism in the 20th century.
Beginning with Marcus Garvey, the acknowledged father of the 20th-century movement, William L. Van Deburg here provides a showcase of the work of more than fifty prominent thinkers including Louis Farrakhan, Elijah Muhammad, Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa, Amiri Baraka and Molefi Asante. Rare pamphlets distributed by organizations such as the Black Panther Party, articles from underground magazines, and memos from governmental officials offer a fresh look at the roots and the manifestations of this movement.
About the Author
Martha M. Ertman is professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Her books include Unbending Gender: Why Work and Family Conflict and What to Do About It and Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter.
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