Om utställda känslor : Känsloberättelser och museiutställningar som narrativ
Sammanfattning: Emotions are sometimes thought of as human universals, biological facts shared by everyone due to the place of emotions as a function of evolution. A competing theory of emotion has been developed in the field of the history of emotions, where emotions instead are thought of as less unstable historically variable categories. The field of history of emotions has contributed to a heightened interest in emotions in general, including in the places of emotions within museums and museum discourse. Emotions are not only thought of as instrumental in the service of a museum’s pedagogical or political goal but are also subjects of exhibitions in their own right. A first principle for the following work has been that museum exhibitions are discursive acts with narrative form. In this masters thesis, I have wanted to examine the ways in which museums exhibit emotions and their histories and to what extent exhibited emotion require certain curatorial considerations to function as meaningful narratives within the context of the history of emotions. Throughout, theoretical approaches are borrowed from the study of literature and from cultural studies to work toward this goal. Two case studies are carried out in which I consider the poetics of exhibition and the role this poetic plays for the interpretation of the two narratives as wholes. An exhibition about the role of the ultras type of football supporters in the uprisings of the Arab Spring was found to centrally place emotions as catalysts for ultras’ political action. The style of narrative was found to be contributing to the sharp division between implicit audience and the culture depicted that ultimately, it was argued, gave this exhibition a place within the discourse of Orientalism. The second case study was of an exhibition about the history of love, and analysis revealed a confusion of two theoretically competing meta-narratives of love within the narrative. A universal and ahistorical metanarrative of emotion was found to work against the foundation of the exhibition as historical narrative. From these two case studies, I draw the conclusion that curators wishing to exhibit emotions must carefully consider the structure of their narratives, both because of the role of emotion in self-understanding and because of the demands on a historical narrative of emotion. This is a two-year master’s thesis in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies.
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