Reinterpreting the museum: social inclusion, citizenship and the urban regeneration of Glasgow

Beel, David E. (2011) Reinterpreting the museum: social inclusion, citizenship and the urban regeneration of Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis considers the contemporary work of the museum in the post-industrial setting of Glasgow. It interprets and understands how the museum as a space gives voice to New Labour’s concepts of social inclusion and citizenship whilst being embroiled in the wider process of urban regeneration and city enhancement. This research has been conducted using a mixed methodology incorporating policy analysis, participant observation and interviews, engaging with policy documentation, museum professionals and museum users in its goal to understand how the museum has been and is positioned within society. In exploring how museums have sought to become more socially inclusive, the research examined four different programmes in detail. These included two outreach projects; one working with adult learners and the other with different religious groups in the city. The research has also followed the contribution of a group of volunteers and finally it has engaged with the on-going processes surrounding the building of the city’s latest museum.

The research findings have highlighted a complex and entangled set of power relations in the attempts to articulate social inclusion policy through the museum. This suggests, building upon the work of Foucault, that the museum embraces a soft-disciplinary power in relation to citizens. Specific programmes of the museum service targeting social inclusion reveal the benefits the individual may enjoy through participating in cultural events from which they might otherwise feel excluded. Yet, the reach of such programmes question the extent to which they are able to address social inclusion in the city. Recent developments – the production of the city’s newest museum as part of the riverside regeneration in particular – reveal how the installation of the iconic museum is closely allied to the wider project of urban economic regeneration. The planning of the Riverside Museum, however, has been attentive to the social inclusion agenda, particularly through the questions of access. Finally, the research shows how the city’s dominant growth agenda has resulted in a changing role for curators, shifting their agency away from a more traditional practice in which they were key gatekeepers, coordinating what museums displayed and how they did so, and towards a role that reflects a more scrutinised form of managerial control.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Museum, Social Inclusion, Citizenship, Urban Regeneration, New Labour, Soft-Disciplinary Power, Governmentality, Glasgow, Scotland, Cultural Policy, Urban Geography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Paddison, Professor Ronan and Joanne, Dr. Sharp
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: D E Beel
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2668
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:58

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