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Assigning Cultural Values

Edited By Kjerstin Aukrust

Assigning Cultural Values is a collection of thirteen essays focusing on the analysis of cultural value in light of aestheticization or aesthetic practices. Reflecting the fruits of the Research Council of Norway’s comprehensive programme for cultural research (KULVER), this anthology studies cultural phenomena not as static dimensions, but rather as factors involved in negotiations and exchanges. By examining the processes in which aestheticization is prominent, the contributors show how the experience-based, relational, and perceptual aspects of assigning cultural values come into focus. Each of the essays offers unique perspectives on the value given to different cultural phenomena, by focusing on their historically changeable aspects, their reciprocal relationships, and their connection to social contexts and power. Drawing on case studies from the fields of cultural history, aesthetics, literature, film, gender studies, art history and theory, design history, and museology, the collection provides a wide-ranging and multifaceted analysis of how the assignment of cultural values is changed, displaced, transferred, and acquired, and will therefore interest all researchers and students within the field of humanities.


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Part 5:Cultural Value in the Museum


Part 5: Cultural Value in the Museum 253 Collecting Europe: On the Museal Construction of European Objects Stefan Krankenhagen Contemporary museum practices of collecting and handling objects are not consi- dered genuinely European. “We are not collecting with a European perspective”, says Renée E. Kistemaker, former curator of the Amsterdam Historical Museum, in summing up colleagues’ opinions in Europe’s museums.1 No single specifically European collecting strategy can be discerned; it simply does not exist. Indeed, it seems that “the museum pieces in warehouses representing the result of collect- ing within one’s national territory […] do not suffice to visualise Europe and grasp what it is”.2 Nevertheless, European integration does influence museum practice right down to collection policy – but not as a guiding principle dictated by the centres of power in Brussels, Strasbourg, or Maastricht, as claimed in previous essays on European cultural policy – whether from a political science perspective3 or in sociological- anthropological research.4 Instead, insight comes from examining interconnections between present collecting strategies and Europeanisation processes as mutually influential interactions and, as such, a cultural practice of making Europe. Which present collecting strategies are suited, and why, to being part of this Euro- peanisation process? Hence, this paper will also discuss several challenges that must be met in the current dialogue about contemporary collection strategies. The aim is to demonstrate that the discourse about a potential Europeanisation of objects and collections is part of a general movement that seeks to redefine the potentials and qualities of objects and...

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