Generally, however, curators discuss exhibition plans and other aspects of their work with colleagues inside and outside museums, and with educators and members of local communities likely to be interested in the subjects concerned.
Much current discussion of these questions is too abstract and ignores both the possibility that the 'museum effect' may work to the advantage of some or many visitors in respect of some or many subjects, and the responses of visitors to displays of specific types.
Perhaps less obvious, but in some ways even more important, are the limitations imposed on what curators can do - not just in exhibitions but also in other aspects of their research - by the nature and extent of the collections available to them.
Bourdieu’s (1977, 1984) application of the term habitus to the Algerian Berber home, as the principle which negotiates between practices and objective structures, functions as an analogy to the social systems in which Berber society operates. In this case the object which is distinguished is subservient to and merely illustrative of the person. The person-hood Bourdieu acknowledges in objects, through a sociological methodology, has been widely critiqued as homogenizing and universalizing. This physiognomic approach to objects is limiting and fails to take into account the specific cultural temporal and spatial contexts which a concept of objects with biographies offers.
Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture
What is common to many theories concerned with the “life-histories” of things as a means of understanding how human social practices are objectified, is their focus on cultural context. Kopytoff and Appadurai approach in The Social Life of Things (1986) to mapping human identities through the biographies of things has had a huge impact on material culture studies. Their argument is that instead of contrasting objects with exchange value (such as commodities) to those of use value (such as a Maussian notion of the gift), it is more illuminating to attend to the social history or cultural biography of objects which instead reveal the politics of value, whereby at any point an object’s value or ‘singularization’ (Kopytoff, ibid) may be reversed. An example of this could be the transformation from use to exchange value that African artefacts undergo once circulating in the global art market.
Objects and others essays on museums and material culture
Dyfri Williams, Research Keeper of Greek and Roman antiquities at the British Museum, several members of the audience stood up on behalf of Greece and expressed their outrage at the British Museum’s refusal to return the Parthenon Sculptures, or the Elgin Marbles, to the city of Athens.
Objects america in museums and essays on and culture others material
The museum considers the exhibition of these objects as a “close study of works that reveals the diversity of African cosmological systems and differing concepts of fate, destiny, and causality” (Rodriguez, 2010a)....