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Museums and the active citizen: Tackling the problems of social exclusion

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew Newman, Gordon Urquhart


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The aim of this paper is to attempt to determine the role of museums in combating social exclusion through facilitating active citizenship. It does this by presenting the results of an analysis that used a modified form of a model of citizenship created by Makela as a framework to explore the data generated by an empirical study. By focusing upon respondents in an holistic way, so understanding their experiences of museum based exhibitions and community development projects within the contexts of their lives, the study concludes that museums were able to overcome many of the barriers to active citizenship that were identified. However, it was also evident that they themselves were creating barriers as some were physically or intellectually inaccessible to a number of study participants. The most significant contribution of museums in developing active citizens was to provide a context for constructing a sense of identity and so develop greater self-confidence. The paper concludes that if the potential that museums have fostered is to be released government agencies need to work together. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Newman A, McLean F, Urquhart G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Citizenship Studies

Year: 2005

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Pages: 41-57

ISSN (print): 1362-1025

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3593

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/1362102042000325351


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