Development of Social Structures within a changing Museum Frame

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Jane K Nielsen


This paper looks at how social and epistemological structures have developed within museums. It focuses on the definitions of Michel Foucault´s discourses and Niklas Luhmann’s definitions of social systems and seeks to identify how the work of these to theorists can shape new structures under which museums themselves can form new social frames of future development.

As museums experience greater responsibilities and the curator's role especially is under significant change, the historical, cultural and epistemological development of museums are under debate too. This calls for new ways of understanding social structures and systems within changing frames of museum theory and practice. As the works of Foucault and Luhmann have rarely been put together they can form new ways of looking at the development and shape of already existing structures within museums. Interestingly, their works suggest that museums themselves, as social systems, have the best opportunities to define future development structures of social inclusion and definition.

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