Mute National Institutions towards Inclusive Approaches: When the French Cultural Heritage System Meets its Limits

By Emmanuelle Cadet.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is written from the perspective of a former French conservator who has had the opportunity to engage into critical research on the social approach of heritage in France. It suggests some new paths of investigation inspired from the present cultural and political context. Even if the concept of eco-museum or community museum was born in France in the seventies, the significant changes in practice and management of cultural material held by museums in other countries in the last 20 years, seem not to have affected French institutions. Thereby conservation remains an unshared decision process based on objects and not on people, supported by the three traditional disciplines, science, technology and art-history. Currently several indicators show the limits of an old system that has to struggle with economic restraints, as well as legislative and social pressures. Beyond these findings, this paper wishes to underline the necessity to reassess cultural heritage in an inclusive perspective, and to question the function of particular cultural heritage in countries of fragile national cohesion.

Keywords: France, Immigration History, Colonialism, Inclusive Approach, Heritage Conservation Policy, Social Actors, Experts

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.155-168. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 646.820KB).

Emmanuelle Cadet

Freelance Consultant in Cultural Project, PhD in Political Science, Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Aix-en-Provence, Montreuil, France

I have been a freelance conservator-restorer during ten years, specialized in mural painting after a M.A. in Art History and a postgraduate diploma in conservation of cultural properties (University of Paris 1, France). Closely involved in the French professional association (FFCR),during this time, I have had the opportunity to attend to the ICCROM training course of “Sharing Decisions in Conservation” in 2006. This became a real turn in my professional path, allowing me to reconsider the universalism of my practice and my thoughts. This conducted me to pursue my education in a M.A. in Management of Cultural Organizations (University of Paris Dauphine, France). During one year I have been coordinator of an international project of investigation concerning modern architecture in the South part of the Mediterranean. My interest in the Arab world is old, and I began en 2007 a survey in Lebanon concerning the local actors of cultural heritage. The complexity of its multiculturalism context and its links with the French cultural policy draw my attention. I began a PHD in Political Science on a comparative analysis of cultural heritage policy in France and in Lebanon, related with the topic of specific cultural heritages and national cohesion.

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