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Causality or bond? An empirical approach of the process of cultural Europeanisation, considered the case of the “museums of Europe” (1980-2010)

Camille Mazé
Université de Bretagne occidentale (Brest, France)
Camille Mazé
Université de Bretagne occidentale (Brest, France)
Open Panel

Abstract

Using the case of the transformation of national ethnology and history museums into “museums of Europe” , we illuminate the process of cultural Europeanization and, especially the question of causality in Europeanisation. Where are these “new” museums standing, between continuity and change, compared to the model of national museum which they are the heirs and that they aspire to change, to evolve? In general, the research of Europeanization has little interest in national cultural institutions which are being subjected to the process of Europeanization and focuses primarily on cultural activity in the EU, without taking into account the initiatives of other levels of political or non-institutional actors. In the case of the “museums of Europe”, all of these levels and actors are involved. Our socio-historical and cross approach can “capture” the phenomenon in its historical and contemporary dimensions and in its transnational dynamic. The types of people interviewed are the “entrepreneurs” of “museums of Europe”: scientific, museums professionals (curators, conservators, researchers), policy makers involved in the issue at various levels of politics, and academics. One of our main results regarding Europe, the European Union and Europeanization, is that Europe and the EU are weakly involved in the Europeanization process of national museums, and that the production process of European museums is circular and present at all levels of politics (European, the EU, national state, regional and local levels, and "civil society"). Through this case, we can discuss theoretical and empirical the question of causality in Europeanisation and think about research design.