Article | Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011 | Conventional Ethnographic Display or Subversive Aesthetics? Historical Narratives of the Sami Museum; RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok; Norway

Title:
Conventional Ethnographic Display or Subversive Aesthetics? Historical Narratives of the Sami Museum; RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok; Norway
Author:
Sigrid Lien: Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen, Norway Hilde Nielssen: Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen, Norway
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Full text (pdf)
Year:
2012
Conference:
Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011
Issue:
078
Article no.:
037
Pages:
599-616
No. of pages:
17
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Published:
2012-10-30
Series:
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
1650-3686
ISSN (online):
1650-3740
Publisher:
Linköping University Electronic Press; Linköpings universitet


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The question of how and where Sámi culture is best represented is a debated issue in Norway. However; politically the problem has been “solved” through the establishment of Sámi museums; run by Sámi people and administered by the Sámi Assembly. The first Sámi museum in Norway was RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok. Sámi museums have; however; been subjected to considerable criticism. They have been accused for propagating ethnic reification and presenting a stereotypical and static image of Sámi culture and identity. The exhibitions are seen as replicas of conventional ethnographic displays; tending to represent Sámi culture as belonging to a traditional; pre-modern past; due to a lack of chronological narration and historical anchoring. Based on fieldwork at the RDM-SVD; this article presents an analysis of the exhibition practices that challenges such earlier readings. We argue that far from replicating the exhibition language of dominant western ethnography; the exhibitions can be seen as an effort to undermine the conceptions of time and history of the dominant society. Based on a study of the museum display as a total experience; our alternative reading suggests that the museum; by evoking a mythical landscape through aesthetic means; inscribes itself into a Sámi conception of time and space – a Sámi understanding of reality. Thus; we also address the debate concerning museums in non-western spaces; and the question of recognizing indigenous curatorial practices. Not least the art section leaves an impression of a museum space less marked by closure than earlier readings suggest. Here the museum opens up for articulations with the wider world; as Sámi contemporary art not only speaks from a position of a particular locality; it also communicates with the international art scene and incorporates visions and perspectives from a global or multiple world.

Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011

Author:
Sigrid Lien, Hilde Nielssen
Title:
Conventional Ethnographic Display or Subversive Aesthetics? Historical Narratives of the Sami Museum; RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok; Norway
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Great Narratives of the Past Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: Conference Proceedings from EuNaMus; European National Museums: Identity Politics; the Uses of the Past and the European Citizen; Paris 28 June – 1 July & 25–26 November 2011

Author:
Sigrid Lien, Hilde Nielssen
Title:
Conventional Ethnographic Display or Subversive Aesthetics? Historical Narratives of the Sami Museum; RiddoDuottarMuseat-Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat (RDM-SVD) in Karasjok; Norway
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