Institutional entrepreneurs of a difficult past: the organisation of knowledge regimes in post-Soviet Lithuanian museums

Rindzeviciute, Egle (2013) Institutional entrepreneurs of a difficult past: the organisation of knowledge regimes in post-Soviet Lithuanian museums. In: Mithander, Connie , Sundholm, John and Velicu, Adrian, (eds.) European cultural memory post-89. Amsterdam, Netherlands : Rodopi. pp. 65-93. (European Studies, no. 30) ISSN (print) 1568-1858 ISBN 9789042036185

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This chapter responds to recent critiques of the public uses of histories of the Holocaust and communist crimes in Lithuania by exploring the creation of the Museum of Genocide Victims and Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum in Vilnius. It has become a cliche to argue that Lithuanian public sector organisations, particularly museums, emphasise the terrible legacy of communist crimes and that they tend to forget - and even actively avoid making public - information about the killings of Lithuania’s Jews. Participation of ethnic Lithuanians in the Holocaust, such critiques argue, is particularly obscured. This study provides empirical data which questions this view: it brings to attention the history of Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum, the existence of which has so far been overlooked by many scholars. In addition, this chapter suggests that in order to better understand the development of museum exhibitions about difficult periods in Lithuania’s past, the Holocaust and communist crimes, it is necessary to go beyond the prevailing theoretical framework which analyses museum exhibitions as representations. Given that museums are highly heterogeneous organisations, which function as a result of collaboration (but not necessarily consensus) among many different actors, it is useful to study them as public knowledge regimes, a theoretical perspective developed by Michel Foucault and his followers. This Foucauldian approach is enriched with the organisational theory of ‘institutional entrepreneurs’, promoted by Paul DiMagio, which focuses particularly sharply on the potentially controversial role of individuals in creating and institutionalising organisations.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Area: Sociology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology (from November 2012)
Depositing User: Egle Rindzeviciute
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 09:53
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2015 10:30

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