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Who are we to decide?: the targeting of professional authority in the contestation over human remains in British museums

Jenkins, Tiffany (2012) Who are we to decide?: the targeting of professional authority in the contestation over human remains in British museums. Cultural Sociology, Online . ISSN 1749-9755

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Abstract

In the past three decades, human remains in museum collections have become the focus of contestation. This paper analyses the construction of the issue in Britain. The literature on contestation in the museum primarily identifies external influences: the market, the pressure of social movements and intellectual currents. I propose an additional influence of internal activism. Drawing on empirical material, I demonstrate important campaigning activity waged by actors inside the institution. The activities of campaigning museum professionals in promoting this issue is a response to a crisis of cultural authority, which has come about after decades of unremitting questioning of the purpose of the institution. The museum is traditionally understood as contributing to the cohesion and reproduction of capitalist society, as reinforcing dominant ideologies. These observations raise the question as to whether this function continues when members of the sector disown and question their authority.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://cus.sagepub.com/
Additional Information: © 2012 SAGE Publications
Library of Congress subject classification: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2010 14:21
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/30129/

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