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How style came to matter : do we need to move beyond the politics of representation?

chapter
posted on 01.01.2006, 00:00 authored by Andrea WitcombAndrea Witcomb
In response to the increasing difficulties facing museums that attempt to work within a pluralist framework as a strategy for representing cultural diversity, this essay argues for the need to move beyond a characterisation of museum work as either progressive or conservative, pluralist or consensual. Central to my arguments is an attempt to extend our understanding of possible narrative structures in museums by focusing on questions of style as much as of content. I do this by looking back at two case studies in which questions around the political intent of narrative structures were determined as much by the form of the exhibition as by its content. This focus enables are cognition that fragmentary narrative styles are not by definition associated with alack of strong narratives. Quite the contrary. An alternative approach to exhibition making might therefore lie in an approach that moves away from eclecticism but does so not by returning to progressive, chronological narratives but by privileging an understanding of 'shared experience'. I attempt to open up what I mean by this term towards the end of the essay.

History

Title of book

South Pacific museums : experiments in culture

Chapter number

21

Publisher

Monash University ePress

Place of publication

Clayton, Vic.

ISBN-13

9780975747582

ISBN-10

0975747584

Language

eng

Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Extent

23

Editor/Contributor(s)

C Healy, A Witcomb