In an era cross-cut with various agendas and expressions of national belonging and global awareness, "the nation" as a collective reference point and experienced entity stands at the center of complex identity struggles. This book explores how such struggles unfold in practice at a highly symbolic battlefield site in the Danish/German borderland. Comprised of an ethnography of two profoundly different institutions – a conventional museum and an experience-based heritage center – it analyses the ways in which staff and visitors interfere with, relate to, and literally "make sense" of the war heritage and its national connotations. Borders of Belonging offers a comparative, in-depth analysis of the practices and negotiations through which history is made and manifested at two houses devoted to the interpretation of one event: the decisive battle of the 1864 war in which Otto von Bismarck, on his way to uniting the new German Empire, led the Prussian army to victory over the Danish. Working through his empirical material to engage with and challenge established theoretical positions in the study of museums, modernity, and tourism, Mads Daugbjerg demonstrates that national belonging is still a key cultural concern, even as it asserts itself in novel, muted, and increasingly experiential ways.
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Mads Daugbjerg is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Aarhus University. His publications on heritage practices, cultural tourism, and the concept of experience include articles in the International Journal of Heritage Studies and in Museum and Society, as well as a co-edited special issue of History and Anthropology (with Thomas Fibiger) on "Globalized Heritage" (2011).Review:
"[This] carefully researched and thoughtful piece of work makes a significant contribution to our understanding of concrete social practices that render heritage sites meaningful...[It] dissects, via an impressive empirical study rich in practical and theoretical implications, the complexity of heritage as processes of negotiation and contestation." · Philipp Schorch, Deakin University
"[This book] is a contribution to a now fairly large literature, from an ethnographically grounded perspective, on history museums and heritage sites [but]...far better than average for this literature which can rely too much on rehashing the debates and too little on the data at hand. I found it especially impressive in its textual balance...Indeed, I could easily imagine this book being used as a perfect text in courses devoted to the heritage and museum studies, especially at the undergraduate level." · Eric Gable, University of Mary Washington
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