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POLITICS, POLICIES AND PEOPLE: Structure and Agency in Museums and Galleries CLIVE GRAY De Montfort University

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Presentation on theme: "POLITICS, POLICIES AND PEOPLE: Structure and Agency in Museums and Galleries CLIVE GRAY De Montfort University"— Presentation transcript:

1 POLITICS, POLICIES AND PEOPLE: Structure and Agency in Museums and Galleries CLIVE GRAY De Montfort University

2 INTRODUCTION Instrumentality: endogenous and exogenous variables Both have an effect but… Which have the greater influence? What is their precise relationship?

3 STRUCTURE AND AGENCY ‘Men make history, but not in circumstances of their own choosing’ (Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon’) Giddens: two sides of the same coin: structuration Archer: continuously entwined: morphogenesis and morphostasis New institutionalism (structural) Social Constructivism (agential)

4 EXOGENOUS STRUCTURES 1.Circulars2. Confirmatory/appellate power 3. Adjudication4. Inspection 5. Default powers6. Audit 7. Control of officers 8. Local Bills 9. Control of grants10. Control of borrowing 11. Planning systems 12. General legislation 13. General financial controls 14. Best Value 15. Comprehensive Area Assessments 16. Local Performance Indicators 17. Funding Agreements 18. Public Service Agreements 19. Local Area Agreements 20. Key Lines of Enquiry for Service Inspection

5 ENDOGENOUS STRUCTURES 1. MLA: Museum Accreditation Scheme 2. MLA: Leading Museums: A Vision and Strategic Action Plan for English Museums 3. Museums Association: Code of Ethics for Museums (International Council of Museums Code) (Washington Conference Principles on Nazi- Confiscated Art)

6 ‘ WHAT ABOUT THE WORKERS ?’ Attachment argument : choose to align with other policy areas Instrumentalisation: contested process – top-down meets bottom-up views Managing external demands – exogenous and endogenous

7 MANAGING CULTURE Problems: Definition Causality Measurement Attribution Sectoral

8 MANAGING PRESSURE: Example Performance Indicators Used internally (managerially) and Externally (politically/principal-agent relations) Deriving from: (New) public management Evidence-based policy making

9 PROBLEMS: 1.Tunnel Vision 2.Suboptimization 3.Myopia 4.Measure fixation 5.Misrepresentation 6.Misinterpretation 7.Gaming 8.Ossification (Smith, 1995)

10 CONSEQUENCES Continuous process of making/remaking the tools of control Continuous process of actively managing the tools of control by those that they are applied to (‘we are not a government poodle’) An entrenchment of inter-organisational political struggle A potential to emphasise exogenous controls over endogenous ones A potential to concentrate on unintended rather than intended consequences

11 SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER Locational: are the same pressures present at the local/regional/national levels? Behavioural: what are the mechanisms that are used by political actors in managing the process? Situational: how important is context in affecting what takes place within the system? What is happening in other policy sectors? What is happening elsewhere in government? Party political: do any of the political parties have any idea at all of what they are demanding?

12 STRUCTURE/AGENCY REVISITED Structure by itself is a rough guide to action Agency turns this into reality This can lead to reinforcement of the existing system OR, it can lead to a change in the system Longitudinal analysis is essential to understand what is taking place Structure/Agency is not whether one is more important than another, or the relative weightings between them, or, even, which takes precedence

13 STRUCTURE AND AGENCY CONTINUED Instead it is how the two mutually interact on a continuous basis To produce mutable – and, occasionally, stable - forms of action and structure The inter-dependence of the two can best be seen in an historical perspective

14 References Archer, M, Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach (1995, Cambridge University Press) Gibson, L, ‘In Defence of Instrumentality’, Cultural Trends, Vol. 17, pp. 247- 57, 2008 Giddens, A, The Constitution of Society (1984, Polity) Gray, C, ‘Local Government and the Arts’, Local Government Studies, Vol. 28, pp. 77-90, 2002 Gray, C, ‘Managing Culture: Pitfalls and Prospects’, Public Administration, Vol. 85, pp. 574-85, 2009 Marx, K, ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon’, pp. 143-249 in D. Fernbach (Ed), Surveys From Exile: Political Writings, Volume 2 (1973, Penguin/New Left Review) Smith, P, ‘On the Unintended Consequences of Publishing Performance Data in the Public Sector’, International Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 18, pp. 277-310, 1995 West, C & C. Smith, ‘”We are not a Government Poodle”: Museums and Social Inclusion Under New Labour’, International Journal of Cultural Policy, Vol. 11, pp. 275-88, 2005

15 Web-site addresses MLA: (Accreditation) ion ion MLA (Leading Museums) 2009/MLA_Museum_ActionPlan_final 2009/MLA_Museum_ActionPlan_final Museums Association (Code of Ethics) 7 7 Washington Conference

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