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    Cultural education: redefining the role of museums in the 21st Century

    Earle, Wendy (2013) Cultural education: redefining the role of museums in the 21st Century. Sociology Compass 7 (7), pp. 533-546. ISSN 1751-9020.

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    In this paper, I argue that in the face of a crisis about the value of culture, cultural education has been represented by some of its advocates as a new way of legitimising the cultural sector. It enables museums, for example, to appear more inclusive and democratic, more relevant to young people and others who do not normally visit museums, and more responsive to the needs of the society. However, defining the value of culture through an emphasis on cultural education, paradoxically, has the potential to undermine the basis of the museum's existence as a public institution. With reference to my research into New Labour's cultural policy, particularly in relation to museums, this paper highlights discourses that have given cultural education a more significant role in the cultural sector. I show how cultural education, with ‘cultural inclusion’ as its main objective, has evolved in the context of an existential crisis in the museum sector over the past 30 years, appearing to offer a means through which they can redefine their role and value in the society as anti-elitist organisations supporting social change. I then go onto show how this apparent solution to the problem might further undermine the unique value of museums.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > SSHP Administration
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2013 07:58
    Last Modified: 30 Jul 2013 07:58


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