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Networks, agents and objects: frameworks for unpacking museum collections

Byrne, Sarah; Clarke, Anne; Harrison, Rodney and Torrence, Robin (2011). Networks, agents and objects: frameworks for unpacking museum collections. In: Byrne, Sarah; Clarke, Anne; Harrison, Rodney and Torrence, Robin eds. Unpacking the Collection: Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum. One World Archaeology. New York: Springer, pp. 3–26.

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Although on face value, museum collections are largely perceived as static entities hidden away in storerooms or trapped behind glass cases, new research shows that over time and across space interactions between objects and a wide range of people have generated a complex assemblage of material and social networks. Based on a broad collection of source materials, studies examining the people who made, sold, traded, studied, catalogued, exhibited and connected with objects reveal a dynamic set of material and social agencies that have been instrumental in creating, shaping and reworking museum collections. By integrating and reworking theories about agency and materiality and by drawing on insights from Actor-Network Theory, contributors to this volume have uncovered new ways to think about relationships formed between objects and individuals and among diverse groups spread across the globe. The research also demonstrates that ethnographic collections continue to play important roles in supporting and reworking national identities as well as to challenge these through ongoing negotiations and sharing of ideas among both the guardians of these objects and their creator communities. These insights have important implications for designing curatorial practices in the future.

Item Type: Book Section
Copyright Holders: 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
ISBN: 1-4419-8221-3, 978-1-4419-8221-6
Keywords: archaeological theory; cross-cultural; cultural heritage management; identity; indigenous; material agency; material culture; museum studies
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 29925
Depositing User: Rodney Harrison
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2011 10:28
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:37
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