Money Trouble in an African Art World: Copyright, Piracy, and the Politics of Culture in Postcolonial Mali


  • Ryan Thomas Skinner The Ohio State University Member, IASPM-US



Copyright, Piracy, Africa, Art World, Mali, Neoliberalism


This article presents a genealogy of copyright and its criminalized corollary, piracy, through an emergent politics of culture in Mali, West Africa, over the past half-century. Emphasizing the production, circulation, and performance of music, this history reveals the steadily deepening social, political, and economic precarity that has shaped the subjectivity of the contemporary Malian artist. Framed as a critique, the essay brings the past to bear on the current era of neoliberalism and the anomic disjuncture between an unregulated free market and the disciplinary state institutions that neoliberal governmentality has produced within the Malian culture economy.

Author Biography

Ryan Thomas Skinner, The Ohio State University Member, IASPM-US

School of Music and African American & African Studies, Assistant Professor


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