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The creation of national treasures in the United Kingdom and the national treasure space

Mastrandrea, Vittoria (2023) The creation of national treasures in the United Kingdom and the national treasure space. International Journal of Cultural Property, 30 (2). 177 – 197. ISSN 0940-7391

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0940739123000140


This article examines the determination of cultural objects as "national treasures"in the United Kingdom and proposes a heretofore unidentified theoretical space in which such designations are made. Utilizing Foucauldian genealogies of the museum posited by both Tony Bennett and Eilean Hooper-Greenhill as a frame for spaces in which cultural and national identities are curated (which some commentators suggest are outdated, but prove very helpful in the current enterprise), this article develops the argument that designations of items as "national treasures"are made within a specific institutional space - hereinafter termed the "National Treasure Space."Through the interpretation of the object in this institutional space, it is possible to characterize it as other than the sum of its parts; certain aspects of the object that exist when it is outside of this space are suspended once it is within. As a result, the problematic determination of the object as a national treasure is exacerbated, impacting important relational elements of the object to its owner(s) (both private and public) and the understanding of the object as significant in its representation of the nation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2023 15:45
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 18:36

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