Museum and Society: editorial statement
Museum and Society is an interdisciplinary e-journal which is devoted to the study of museums. It caters for museum professionals and for the growing number of non-museum people whose professional work leads them to engage with the subject of the museum.
A characteristic of contemporary writing and research about museums is its academic diversity. On the one hand scholars who would once have seen the museum as somebody else's business now see it as a topic that falls within the remit of their discipline. And on the other hand museum issues have burst out of the glass case into the wider spheres of local, national and global politics. In Britain and elsewhere new modes of governance in the realm of public culture, strategies for urban re-generation and the development of a politics of inclusion are among the things which have created a demand for knowledge about the museum in its social and cultural contexts. At the same time twentieth-century processes of marketization, decolonization and globalization have fundamentally altered received understandings of what should be the role of museums in society.
A correlate of these developments has been a wider consciousness of the museum and its politics; the very scale and pace of contemporary museum projects has created 'newsworthy stories' that have spilled into the public domain as media narratives of success and failure. Museum issues are no longer confined to the professional spaces of the gallery, lecture hall or seminar room. Moreover, within the museum social change has registered in the breaking of traditional curatorial moulds and in the birth of a new way of thinking that is called the New Museology.
Museum and Society is, therefore, a new forum where practitioners, researchers, academic specialists with an interest in museum topics and other interested parties can respond to this situation. The editors will exploit these new opportunities for dialogue and debate about the museum and its role in the world. They wish to encourage the submission of high quality and innovative articles about museums and museum-related matters.
They welcome contributions from both academics and practitioners. It is anticipated that academic contributors will include anthropologists, cultural theorists, economists, historians of art and science, museologists, philosophers, sociologists and others for whom the museum is a subject of disciplinary significance. Practitioners will include professionals working in museums and others such as government researchers, IT consultants, marketing experts, local authority officers and others with a direct interest in the transmission and distribution of the museum's cultural capital.
The editors invite submission of articles that cover all aspects of museums in their social and cultural contexts, both past and present. Museum and Society is interested in publishing empirical and theoretical research which reflects both the diversity of museums and the ways in which museum meanings are being transformed in the world today. The editors also want to encourage reports concerning new museum initiatives and their contexts. The overall aim is to report new directions in both scholarly research and museum practice and to assess developments in the worlds of museum and heritage. See the Welcome page for more details about the topics which we intend to cover.
Eric Gable, Kate Hill, Ceri Jones, Suzanne MacLeod, Kylie Message, Jim Roberts Richard Sandell & Chris Whitehead