(Re)assembling Our Past, Present and Future : The Slovene Ethnographic Museum as a Platform for Dialogue
Sammanfattning: This thesis aims to illustrate and explain contemporary interactions between Western ethnographic museums and broader society. It is based on one central case study, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum (SEM) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. A majority of informants expressed a wish for the museum to be a platform for dialogue. In connection to their visions, this thesis discusses the potential of ethnographic museums to work towards promoting and facilitating inclusivity and social change as well as some tensions that arise from this development. This is done through an analysis of ethnographic data on museum employees’ views on the relevance and responsibilities of the museum and its status as a cultural and scientific institute. New museology and actor-network theory are used as primary analytical tools. A responsibility to represent ‘correctly’ in the museum is related to the influence that tangible and intangible heritages, as actants, can have on society. It is argued that cultural heritage could be instrumental in achieving positive social change. However, there is a core tension between the envisioned position of the museum and the power hierarchy that it maintains through its identity as a scientific institute that shapes dominant knowledge.
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