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Title: Regulation and the roles of art museum education in China and Taiwan
Authors: Chen, Yun-Ju
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis examines the current educational roles of art museums in China and Taiwan under diverse political regimes and social regulation. It is based on case studies of five art museums at both the national and local levels in these two locations. The selection of the case study museums under different levels of governance is aimed at not only identifying the museums’ educational roles, but also understanding how the diverse external influences have shaped the roles of museum education. The data collected through the case studies derives from interviews with the Museum Director and Head of education of each institution, together with non-participatory observations of the educational activities conducted at the case study museums. The thesis is underpinned by the theoretical foundations primarily of Tony Bennett, Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. The thesis begins with the adoption of Bennett’s concept on the instrumentality of culture. It takes on Bennett’s view on culture as a constituted field of government, and examines the government policy related to museum education to demonstrate the distinctiveness of culture as a produced surface of social regulation. In this regard, governmental programmes which aim to transform the conduct of the target groups are inscribed into specific cultural institutions. Following this is an investigation into the power-relations of the case study museums based on the concept of governmentality of Foucault. In this approach, the case study museums are viewed as social apparatuses for social management. The practices of the museums are adjusted according to their relationship with their governing bodies and other cultural institutions and organisations involved in these power-relations. The study argues that museums’ educational roles are not only regulated by the ‘top-down’ power from the government, but also the actors who are involved in the field of museum education. To claim this, the analysis chapters investigate the adjustments to the educational roles at the bottom level of the educational practices of the case study museums, based on Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital and habitus. Finally, the thesis concludes with a comparison of the roles performed by the selected museums at different levels of governance and under diverse political regimes. The study argues that different theoretical frameworks are better suited to understanding one historical period and set of circumstances than another. The Gramscian framework helps us to understand Chinese and Taiwanese cultural policy and practice respectively under past regimes (e.g. under Mao, or under Martial Law), while the Foucauldian and Bourdieuean frameworks allow for a more articulated understanding of the contemporary situation.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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