National heritage and the international market. The dilemma facing Public intervention
By bringing together sociological analysis of interaction and economic analysis of imperfect information, this article examines the dilemma encountered by public intervention when confronted with two diverging logics : whether to protect national heritage or to develop the market by allowing free circulation of all artistic items. Two of the contexts in which this action is situated are examined successively : the geographical and economic context of allowing the market to become world-wide and the historic and legal context where the items become national heritage. It can be observed that today, in a European community, the notion of national heritage is losing its boundaries and is covered by a comprehensive notion of national treasure ; the analysis of the qualification procedures for artistic items is based both on an examination of the legislative and statutory provisions and their evolution, and on a study carried out by those who take part in qualification operations.