Inderscience Publishers

An old narrative for a new culture: what cyber–culture can learn from indigenous culture

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Abrams (1993) has claimed that 'complex narratives are, first and foremost, a promising vehicle for introducing legal decision–makers to a more complex, ambiguous legal subject.' They can contribute to a 're–conceptualization of critical aspects of law and legality' forcing us to 'think concretely but to remember socially.' By changing the narrative of property rights from an individual orientation to a community orientation, more rights can be better protected. The economy of the future will be based on relationship rather than possession. It will be continuous rather than sequential. The protections that need to be developed should rely more on ethics and technology than on law. This article will suggest that ubiquitous virtuality is pushing cyber–cultural property to take on aspects of indigenous cultural property. The suggestion will be made that indigenous customary law would be a suitable framework from which to compare traditional cultural property with cyber–cultural property, notwithstanding the inadequacy of western concepts to fully appreciate the spiritual aspects inherent in indigenous customary law. Further, it is important to remember that culture is a dynamic, lived experience.

Keywords: cyber–culture, indigenous culture, narratives, cyberspace, civil society, property rights, relationships, possession, ethics, indigenous customary law

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