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French Ambivalence Towards the Concept of ‘Indigenous People’: Museums and the Māori

Abstract : Museums around the globe have experienced important changes in recent years in response to decolonisation processes and the demands of indigenous peoples. French museums are no exception, but the transformations have certain French hallmarks. This article explores the way France is dealing with its colonial legacy and, by means of two case studies, unravels the diverse political and historical particularities of the French context. The first looks at the results of a comparative analysis of the French and Québécois public's response to the travelling exhibition E tū ake: Standing Strong produced by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The second focuses on the repatriation ceremony of Māori toi moko (tattooed preserved heads) that took place in Paris in January 2012. These two case studies examine the French uses of concepts such as 'community', 'minority', and 'indigeneity' as well as the complex relations between religion and rationality, ancestral presence and materialism in French public life. The article investigates how these concepts participate in the fabric of French society, and thus in shaping contemporary museum landscapes.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 12:04:01 PM
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Natacha Gagné, Mélanie Roustan. French Ambivalence Towards the Concept of ‘Indigenous People’: Museums and the Māori. Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2019, 29 (2), pp.95-115. ⟨10.1080/00664677.2019.1587591⟩. ⟨halshs-02276995⟩



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