What is grey about the ‘grey market’ in antiquities

Mackenzie, S. and Yates, D. (2017) What is grey about the ‘grey market’ in antiquities. In: Beckert, J. and Dewey, M. (eds.) The Architecture of Illegal Markets: Towards and Economic Sociology of Illegality in the Economy. Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 70-86. ISBN 9780198794974 (doi:10.1093/oso/9780198794974.003.0004)

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The global market in antiquities has been described as a grey market. We provide a breakdown of the meanings and implications of this greyness. Usually the term refers to the mixing of recently looted antiquities with those that can be sold legally, thus the antiquities market is grey because illicit objects are sold via a public and purportedly legitimate network of dealers and auction houses. This is supported by a second form of greyness: the ethically grey status of individual looted objects after time and their passage through jurisdictions via multiple trades obscures or overwrites their illicit origins. It is also supported by a greying of ethical judgment, achieved through a discourse that permits the purchase of illicit objects in constructed circumstances of “saving” or “preserving” artifacts.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Yates, Dr Donna and Mackenzie, Professor Simon
Authors: Mackenzie, S., and Yates, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
College of Arts > School of Humanities
Publisher:Oxford University Press
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