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Cultural Theory and Museum Studies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rhiannon MasonORCiD


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Like many recent developments in the academy, cultural theory is characterized by its interdisciplinary nature and its disregard for traditional academic boundaries. Ideas linked to the term “cultural theory” are as likely to be found in geography or music seminars as in those of history, philosophy, literature, film, art, gallery, and museum studies. There is no one single definition of cultural theory and its application varies according to intellectual context. There are, however, a number of key concepts and issues which fall under its name. This chapter examines these to see how they have informed and contributed to the field of museum studies; and looks, in particular, at the increasingly explicit use of cultural theory within museum studies. In turn, it also explores how ideas in cultural theory are themselves being adapted and refashioned by museological research and practice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mason R

Editor(s): Macdonald, S

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: A Companion to Museum Studies

Year: 2005

Pages: 17-32

Series Title: Blackwell Companions in Cultural Studies

Publisher: Blackwell

Place Published: Oxford

Notes: Reviews “No one is better qualified than Sharon McDonald to create this definitive companion to museum studies. The field has not only come of age but has also burgeoned in all directions. How wise then to capture the vibrancy of its interdisciplinarity by assembling the work of a veritable who's who of museum studies. Each voice is at once distinct and in dialogue and debate with others. An indispensable text for the field.” -- Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York University “A Companion to Museum Studies is an indispensable guide to what has come to be called ‘the New Museology.’ This set of papers by some of the most distinguished scholars of museums examines museums, displays and exhibits from the perspectives of different disciplines. No one attempting to study or teach about museums will be able to do without this aptly named Companion. It will be both guide and landmark in museum studies for years to come.” – Ivan Karp, Emory University

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781405108393