Navigating realities - new museology in a dynamic-equilibrium world: an interdisciplinary and qualitative meta-synthesis of discourse about human and cultural rights, climate change, security, globalisation, civil society and sustainable development, and

Gershevitch, Conrad Peter (2013). Navigating realities - new museology in a dynamic-equilibrium world: an interdisciplinary and qualitative meta-synthesis of discourse about human and cultural rights, climate change, security, globalisation, civil society and sustainable development, and reflections on the role of cultural institutions in an era of transformation and risk PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2016.478

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Author Gershevitch, Conrad Peter
Thesis Title Navigating realities - new museology in a dynamic-equilibrium world: an interdisciplinary and qualitative meta-synthesis of discourse about human and cultural rights, climate change, security, globalisation, civil society and sustainable development, and reflections on the role of cultural institutions in an era of transformation and risk
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2016.478
Publication date 2013-04-15
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Amar Galla
Tom O'Regan
Total pages 369
Language eng
Subjects 210204 Museum Studies
200206 Globalisation and Culture
160510 Public Policy
210299 Curatorial and Related Studies not elsewhere classified
1605 Policy and Administration
2002 Cultural Studies
Formatted abstract
This thesis is an interdisciplinary and qualitative meta-synthesis of a diverse body of information relevant to the way human and cultural rights intersect with the economic, social and environmental pillars of development, and explores the relevance of these issues to contemporary cultural institutions. Recognising and responding to these intersections is necessary if humans are to rise to the challenges of modernity – rapid change; uncertainty about emerging risks; conflicts; moral ambiguities; social, cultural and ecological system failures; diminishing energy returns; and increasing complexity, interdependencies and fragility.

I argue that many public policies, governments and private institutions inadequately understand the threats and are failing to provide integrated responses. There is often a failure to recognise and incorporate principles of human rights, equity, participation, cultural diversity and sustainable development into policy and governance, this risks wider policy, program and institutional failures. As with many nations, Australia has ‘sold’ some of its freedoms for economic growth. Its democracy remains vulnerable given the inadequacy of its human-rights protections, and the expanding dominance of a corporate culture intrudes into all aspects of people’s lives. The neoliberal agenda, adopted by many authoritarian as well as liberal states, has extracted heavy tolls on personal freedom, cultural integrity, the physical environment and finite resources. The long-predicted limits of growth are being reached, and a self-repairing biosphere is severely stressed; yet, institutional barriers (media, globalised business and politics) and instinctive human denials continue to allow established development-momenta, which are as harmful as they are unstoppable.

A methodological basis for this thesis was my experience managing a national human-rights counter-radicalisation program. This is described and presented as case studies in a separate appendix. The studies illustrate how such initiatives can be both culturally sensitive and compatible with human-rights principles. The design was novel because it used human-rights-based population-health models of intervention and applied these approaches to a new public-policy setting. The program’s method was premised on the need to navigate the many risks and changes facing civil society and offers a template that may be used by social policy agencies and cultural institutions.

This thesis describes many of the determinants of future trends and their connections, and it links these to human rights and culture. It argues that alternatives to existing public-policy models of action in the domains of security, social and cultural inclusion, democratic participation and sustainable development require new strategies. Cultural institutions can and should be vectors where many of the challenges to civil society are enacted. New museology – as an inter-disciplinary practice that intersects with other inter-disciplinary methodologies – presents a model for integrated, sustainable and egalitarian approaches to natural and built systems.

To have a viable future on a habitable planet, humanity must make substantial social, economic, cultural, environmental, productive, distributive, political and legislative changes. Cultural institutions, such as museums, can play important roles in transformative processes: recording, educating, interpreting, bearing witness, preserving, re-creating, advocating, inventing, organising and leading. In our likely future, humans will have less scope for material consumption, but more scope for repairing local communities, ecologies, and social and cultural practices. The modern notion of the museum as a civic space – as a living institution integrated within the community and the environment it serves or is based – is compatible with a future society that is more equitable, sustainable and communal, rather than aspirational, materialistic and individualistic.

In a world of increasing uncertainties, where human societies are entering an unprecedented era of global atrophy and risk, museums have a critical role in mediating and supporting the transformation to a more sustainable and equitable future – a world of dynamic equilibrium – where there are greater opportunities for genuine human flourishing.
Keyword Human rights
Culture
Cultural institutions
New museology
Eco-museums
Globalisation
Climate change
Civil society
Sustainable development

Document type: Thesis
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Created: Fri, 15 Mar 2013, 10:26:24 EST by Conrad Gershevitch on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service