Ethnography and Representation: On the Border of the Public and the Private (2004)PDF
Speaking about topical issues in contemporary museology, one often uses the expression “a crisis of representation”. The crisis of representation is actually a broader historical phenomenon encompassing all ideas associated with disciplining and consecrating acts. It seems that this crisis has especially afficted the major ethnological and national history museums that have been part of the ‘nation-building’ proess. The values of traditional museums have lost their credibility sine all formely fundamental assumptions on identity, history, nation and place have become suspect. It has even been suggested that the only recourse of the museum os “to proceed ironially with quotations about a curious nostalgia for the way things were but can never be again. It is as through a visit to the museum should be like a visit to a haunted alchemist’s laboratory, forlorn and perhaps historically misguided, but appealed to science (Lum 2004: 2-3).
In anthropology, the qualities of our present world have been described by words like decentered, fragmented, compressed and refrated, indicating a shift from their opposited. This reflects not only a substantial difference, but, importantly, a change in interest and anakytical focus: from structure to process, or from stability to change as an inherent feature of all social systems (Hastrup 1994: 2)
Somewhat later than in anthropology, the understanding emerged in museology that the notions sofar constituting the framework of expositions are not objective entities. The viewpoint that they are cultural constructions and therefore suspect with regard to they are cuktural constructions and therefore suspect with regard to the question of truth, has also appeared in the discourse of museum studies. The project of the ethnological museum that is rooted in the 19-th entury ideas of civilization and objetivism has become alienated from the present reality.
Kennike A. Ethnography and Representation: On the Border of the Public and the Private // Studies in folk culture. 2004. Vol. 3. P. 273-283.