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Cultural Politics and Antipodean Museums, Special Issue

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Located in leisure economies, subjected to state politics, dedicated to the demotic, demarcated by social distinction, committed to the civics of multiculturalism, endorsed by an ethics of reconciliation, determinedly focused on “the cutting edge”,
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   Sociology NewZealand       Volume 21 Number 1 2006 Editors:  Mike Lloyd, Chamsy el-Ojeili, Lincoln Dahlberg  Book Review Editors:  Avril Bell, Lesley Patterson   Associate Editors:  Peter Beatson, Peter Beilharz, Claudia Bell, Chris Brickell, Bruce Curtis, Kevin Dew, Ann Dupuis, Richard Harker, Jane Higgins, Gavin Kendall, Steve Matthewman, Maureen Molloy, Greg Newbold, Ted Ninnes, Camilla Obel, David Pearson, Nick Perry, Michael Peters, Rosemary du Plessis, Evan Poata-Smith, Allanah Ryan, Anne Scott, Roy Shuker, Paul Spoonley, Warwick Tie, Robert Webb, Brennon Wood  Objective:  To foster a refereed journal to disseminate and promote research and thought that has, as its objective, the clarification and development of theoretically informed research in sociology and related disciplines,with a predominant, though not exclusive, concern with New Zealand.  Contributors:  For information on the contribution of articles, see Instructions for Contributors at the end of this issue. Books for review to: Book Review Editors, New Zealand Sociology, c/- School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Massey University, PO Box 756, Wellington.  Subscriptions : One Volume per year, two issues per Volume. Per Volume: Students NZ$25; Individuals NZ$35; Institutions NZ$50. Surcharge for overseas postage: NZ$7 per Volume. Mail to: New Zealand Sociology (subscriptions), c/- School of Social & Cultural Studies, Victoria University, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand. The editors acknowledge the assistance provided by the School of Social & Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. ISSN 0112 921X © 2005 The Editors, New Zealand Sociology Opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the individual contributors and no responsibility is accepted for them by the Editors or SAANZ. The Journal is abstracted in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences and Sociological Abstracts. For further information about the Journal go to http://saanz.rsnz.org/journal/index1.html  Contents Contents   SpecialIssue:CulturalPoliticsofMuseums     Kylie Message and Ben Dibley 4 Introduction: The cultural politics of Antipodean museums   Paul Carter 9 Writing public space: Design, philosophy, art   Deidre Brown 27 “Ko to ringa ki nga rakau a te Pakeha’: Virtual Taonga, Maori, and museums   Elizabeth Rankin 49 War museums in the British Dominions: Conceptualising imperial allegiance and colonial autonomy   Christine McCarthy 68 Boundary arbitrations: Spatial complexitites and tensions in recent New Zealand museum architecture   David Butts 89 Museum governance, indigenous recogniton and (in)tolerant multiculturalism   Conal McCarthy 108 Hailing the subject: Maori visitors, museum display and the sociology of cultural reception CallforPapers     131 Winnerofthe2005SAANZPostgraduatePrizeforScholarshipin Sociology     Wendy Bolitho 133 Social theory: Philosophical, empirical, or discursive  NewZealandSociologyVolume21Number12006ReviewArticle     Sarah Donoavan 145 Experts at ethics? BookReviews Agar, N. (2004)  Liberal eugenics: In defence of human enhancement . Reviewed by Rhonda Shaw   152 Boston, J., Callister, P., & Wolf, A. (2006)  The policy implications of diversity  Reviewed by Charles Crothers   156 Hartley, J. (Ed.) (2005)  Creative industries  Reviewed by Amanda Bill   160 Hawkes, G. (2004)  Sex and pleasure in western culture  Hawkes, G., & Scott, J. (Eds.) (2005)  Perspectives in human sexuality  Reviewed by Johanna Schmidt   164 Razac, O. (2002)  Barbed wire: A political history   168 Reviewed by Steve Matthewman InstructionsforContributors      4 MessageandDibley Introduction: The Cultural Politics of Antipodean Museums  KylieMessageandBenDibley Located in leisure economies, subjected to state politics, dedicated to the demotic, demarcated by social distinction, committed to the civics of multiculturalism, endorsed by an ethics of reconciliation, determinedly focused on “the cutting edge”, enduringly concerned with preservation, the cultural politics of contemporary museums are, to say the least, complex in their effects and challenging in their analysis. The central aim of this edition of  New Zealand Sociology  is to critically engage with this multifaceted terrain by focusing on developments in the Antipodes. As complex sites of meaning making, museums in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia are contingent on distinctive interplays between global flows, nationally specific institutions and locally meaningful narratives. The contributors to this volume analyse antipodean museums in relation to the historical legacy of settler colonialism and the current regimes of globalisation by exploring how these interplays are represented in particular museum practices, and how such cultural institutions attempt to account for the effects of this cultural traffic. Navigating this traffic gives the contributors not so much a common methodology – which would be unlikely since, characteristic of the field of museum studies, they come from a range of disciplinary backgrounds –  but rather a loosely shared orientation that might be called an antipodean optic (Beilharz, 1997). Analyses work through a complex interplay of the global and the local, the metropolitan and the provincial, and the north and the south, demonstrating that cultural identityand difference is not fixed, but relational and resulting from a historical past that is both shared and discrete. From these southern perspectives the essays collated here investigate a range of topics and sources including: contemporary public art commissions, exhibition design, new media and ethics, museum architecture, memorialisation, issues of governance, community participation, and visitor reception. Contributors examine the rhetoric and   5 NewZealandSociologyVolume21Number12006 logic by which these exhibitionary practices operate as democratic spaces of representation and participation. They interrogate claims made by museums that they offer postcolonial models of exchange, and investigate new methodologies for trans‑cultural expression and dialogue. They reflect on the possibilities these might open up for self‑representation and for more adequate forms of participation for previously marginalised communities. Perhaps, most importantly, contributors provide insight into why museums maintain their priority in community, governmental and academic spheres as sites for addressing the cultural predicaments of the contemporary world. In pursuing these lines of inquiry the essays included here represent emerging theoretical and political positions on antipodean museological practices. These are valuable both for illuminating the distinctiveness of such museological activities and for the analytical optics they propose and advance. Paul Carter opens this volume with a reflection on his experience as a designer of recent significant public artworks in Australia, notably  Relay  (Homebush Bay, Sydney Olympics),  Nearamnew  (Federation Square, Melbourne) and  Solution  (Docklands, Melbourne). As a theorist and practitioner in public art, Carter’s project seeks an ethics that will diffuse this field’s conventions. In his view, narratives of place associated with a particular public space, risk effacement in design briefs that would have art symbolise the achievements of capital or the state. In subverting such  briefs, the post‑representationalist art practices advanced by Carter seek to generate public artworks that acknowledge local narratives seemingly obliterated by the new. Carter wishes to establish new alignments between those who commission, produce, interpret or otherwise engage such spaces, advocating an interpretative frame between cultural institutions and public artworks, whose recollection of the narratives of place is a duty charged to cultural institutions through “care at a distance”. Carter hopes that through this ethic a more democratic sociality might be promoted in the public culture of Australia’s urban spaces. Investigating the complexities of indigenous use of new media technology for expressions of Maori cultural identity, Deidre Brown explores a rather different set of ethical relations in which cultural institutions are engaged. In pursuing her analyses, Brown positions these contemporary deployments
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