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Representing the Nation: A Reader: Histories, Heritage and Museums

Edited By: David Boswell and Jessica Evans

470 pages, B/w illus


Paperback | Dec 1999 | #139749 | ISBN: 041520870X
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £23.99 $31/€27 approx

About this book

In a period of globalisation there has been a startling resurgence of nationalism, regionalism, and other assertions of local identity, reflected in the boom in the heritage industry in all its forms, from education in oral and social history to entertainment and tourism. But how are ideas of a unified culture and nationhood created out of the diversity of modern society? Representing the Nation gathers key writings from leading thinkers in cultural studies, cultural history, and museum studies to ask what role cultural institutions play in creating and shaping our sense of ourselves as a nation. With an international perspective focussing on the US, Framce, Australia, the UK and India, the contributors investigate whether cultural artefacts can represent all of us equally, as members of a given nation. The opening section explores the strategies involved in creating and sustaining a national culture, such as the standardisation of language and the sidelining of regional cultures. In the second section, contributors examine the way the past is preserved, represented and consumed as our 'heritage'. Tracing the growth of 'her itage culture' from the founding of the National Trust in 1895, to the National heritage acts of the 1980's, key figures in the heritage debate ask why it has become important for nations to preserve the past, and in whose name it is preserved and displayed? The third section looks at the historical development of the public museum, examining the development of conventions of classification and display, and stressing the link between the emergence of museums and the development of the modern nation state. In the final section contributors focus on issues facing museums today; the difficulties they now encounter when facing the competing demands and interests of public funding bodies, tourist, and local or ethnically specific communitities, and argue that museums cannot continue to operate as if they are the repositories of objective and universal knowledge. Richard D. Altick, Arjun Appadurai, Tony Bennett, Carol A. Breckenridge, James Clifford, Philip Dodd, Carol Duncan, David Goodman, Stuart Hall, Robert Hewison, Eric Hobsbawn, Kenneth Hudson, Sharon Ma

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