Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Interpretive policy analysis in Beijing's ethnographic museums: Implementing cultural policy for the 2008 “People's Olympics”
by Ashton, Curtis, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2010, 202; 3439548
Abstract (Summary)

This institutional ethnography documents approaches taken to national and municipal museum regulations at specific government and non-government museums in Beijing during the city's Olympic season of rapid museum development (2001-2009). Chinese authorities developed cultural policies for the Olympics meant to deliver a unified image of “New Beijing” as a “traditional, modern capital” able to celebrate a diversity of cultural traditions during the Olympics while also to suppress critical readings of China's modernizing project. However, museum practitioners working with ethnic minority traditions (minzu wenhua) and folk customs (minsu) implemented these policies according to their own sensibilities of the “new museology,” global best practices within the museum profession. Thus the Olympic catalyst that produced increased museum regulation also hastened trends towards greater reflexivity and more community-centered museum practices outside of and even in opposition to the demands of central and municipal authorities. The case of museum policy implementation in Beijing further demonstrates the fragmented authoritarianism that characterizes much of China's current political climate, showing that even within the context of a highly regulated Olympic media event, policies are unevenly implemented as individuals and institutions exercise agency independent of regime expectations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bauman, Richard
Commitee: Jackson, Jason B., Janelli, Roger, Kennedy, Scott
School: Indiana University
Department: Folklore and Ethnomusicology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian Studies, Folklore, Museum studies
Keywords: Appropriate museology, Beijing, China, Chinese museum policy, Cultural policy, Fragmented authoritarianism, Interpretive policy analysis, Museum, Museum professionalization, Olympic cultural program, People's Olympics
Publication Number: 3439548
ISBN: 978-1-124-44758-2
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