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In this comparative, international study Marilena Alivizatou investigates the relationship between museums and the new concept of “intangible heritage.” She charts the rise of intangible heritage within the global sphere of UN cultural policy and explores its implications both in terms of international politics and with regard to museological practice and critical theory. Using a grounded ethnographic methodology, Alivizatou examines intangible heritage in the local complexities of museum and heritage work in Oceania, the Americas and Europe. This multi-sited, cross-cultural approach highlights key challenges currently faced by cultural institutions worldwide in understanding and presenting this form of heritage.
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Marilena Alivizatou is teaching fellow in museum studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Marilena coordinates courses in critical museology, collections care and management and collections curatoship. In July 2009 she obtained her PhD from UCL, where she examined the topic of intangible heritage and its museological negotiations. Her research interests are in critical heritage and museum studies, participatory museology, alternative approaches to collections curatorship, culture and development and intangible heritage.Review:
“Combining rich discussion of important cases, this book is a significant contribution to the discussion of the relationship between museums and intangible heritage.”
—Neil Curtis, Head of Museums, University of Aberdeen
“The biggest value of this book is its holistic perspectives in linking intangible heritage and museology together. As cultural practice, intangible heritage is transformed into tangible objects associated with new museological perspectives. This approach to preserving intangible heritage contributes to an interpretative ethnographic framework which is different from traditional heritage preservation. This will encourage further debates about authenticity, community participation, and cultural transformation between the museum, culture, and tourism sectors. As this book gives clear explanations and useful evidence, it can be recommended to tourism, museum, heritage, and cultural studies students at either undergraduate or postgraduate levels, but particularly to undergraduate students of anthropology or tourism. Academics, museum managers, and policy-makers exploring intangible heritage preservation may also be interested in this book.”
—Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change
“Alivizatou courageously offers us a set of conclusions that are worth studying for any agent involved in dealing with the complexity of historical engagement in public displays. The questions the author raises are important and her presentation is clear and compelling.”
—Nick Stanley, The Public Historian
“I found the book very relevant on many levels.”
—Sharon Peoples, International Journal of Heritage Studies
“[This book] provides an excellent overview of the concept of intangible heritage from the perspective of museology. It is a good text for use in numerous museum studies, material culture, ethnography and other university courses.”
—Annette B. Fromm, Florida International University
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