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‘The will to empower’: reworking governmentality in the museum

Beel, DE (2017) ‘The will to empower’: reworking governmentality in the museum. Area, 49 (4). pp. 460-467. ISSN 0004-0894

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Abstract

A number of geographers have sought to develop the museum as a space ripe for geographical enquiry and to comprehend the positioning of the museum. This paper aims to contribute to this burgeoning field of museum geography in order to consider the ways in which museum spaces rework notions of governmentality. First, this paper seeks to comprehend how museums (specifically municipal museums) are positioned within processes of governance and how, as a state actor, they develop a form of soft disciplinary power. Second, the paper follows such a strategy, as it traces the pathways taken by participants involved in a community engagement project based at GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow) in Glasgow. The project engaged a group of adult learners in a variety of cultural and arts activities. This allowed the group to explore a series of issues in contemporary art and it engaged them in different forms of creative practice. The community engagement work sought to improve their confidence and aspirations as well as to expand their creative abilities.

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