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The Architecture of Illegal MarketsTowards an Economic Sociology of Illegality in the Economy$
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Jens Beckert and Matías Dewey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794974

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794974.001.0001

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What Is Grey about the “Grey Market” in Antiquities?

What Is Grey about the “Grey Market” in Antiquities?

Chapter:
(p.70) 4 What Is Grey about the “Grey Market” in Antiquities?
Source:
The Architecture of Illegal Markets
Author(s):

Simon Mackenzie

Donna Yates

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198794974.003.0004

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.

Keywords:   antiquities, trafficking, cultural property, cultural objects, cultural heritage, illicit markets, grey markets, art crime

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