Cultural sanctions, that is, the boycotting of pop culture products (music, movies, sports, books etc.) coming from another state/ its nationals, is not a new phenomenon but is receiving greater popular attention in recent years. While scholars from different disciplines have written about specific cases of cultural sanctions (e.g., the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, cultural sanctions on South Africa during the apartheid years), no one has developed a broad conceptual framework that analyzes this phenomenon. This is the goal of this project. The talk will first place this discussion within the broader discussion on the roles of popular culture and politics. It will then offer a typology of different types of cultural sanctions (three generations of cultural sanctions) and how they reflect changes in world politics. I will try to explain the logic behind these sanctions and their role within identity contestations. Finally, I will discuss the conditions under which such sanctions may have an impact. In my talk I will use illustrations from several cases and regions- the Arab boycott on Israel, the more recent BDS cultural boycott, the cultural boycott of South Africa, and the cultural boycott of Japan by the Republic of Korea until the mid-90s.
Galia Press-Barnathan is a senior lecturer at the International Relations department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research interests are broad and her work has focused on three themes- regionalism and regional cooperation, the political economy of transitions to peace, and the roles of popular culture in world politics. She is the author of two books: Organizing the World – The United States and Regional Cooperation in Asia and Europe (Routledge 2003), and The Political Economy of Transitions to Peace (Pittsburgh University Press, 2009). Most recently she edited (with Kacowicz and Fine) a volume on The Relevance of Regions in a Globalized World: Bridging the Social Sciences-Humanities Gap (Routledge , 2019). Her research appears in journals such as the International Studies Review, Security Studies, Cooperation and Conflict, Journal of Peace Research, International Relations of Asia-Pacific and Media, Culture and Society. She is, of course, a proud Columbia University graduate.