Revisiting the Law and Politics of Compromise
This chapter critically examines relevant international initiatives both to assess their influence in resolving disputes and to suggest how such efforts might be renewed and revitalised. In particular, it critiques the focus of the international archival community on issues of sovereignty, inalienability and ownership of archives based both on the law and on the effect such concepts may have on the negotiation of displaced archives disputes. Finally, the chapter recommends a balanced, practical approach that stresses the broad pool of stakeholders in foreign archives, maximises flexibility and encourages creative approaches to resolving, or at least ameliorating, the effects of archival displacement. The most important factor in resolving displaced archives disputes, in fact, appears to be political and economic alignment – or realignment – between the states concerned. A related principle more conducive to compromise and endorsed by both the ICA and UNESCO is the concept of 'joint heritage' or 'common heritage'.