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Decolonial affordances of a communal heritage platform: A case study of the Reciprocal Research Network
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), School of Arts and Communication (K3).
2021 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Museums are increasingly reckoning with their roles in the colonization of Indigenous peoples as they seek to engage diverse forms of participation and justify their social relevance. Many are turning to digital solutions to aid with these endeavors, including digital repatriation/return platforms. How users interact with these platforms to create knowledge and how these platforms contribute to a larger decolonial aspiration is not well understood. In this study, I explore these issues, drawing on postcolonial/decolonial theories and affordance theory, using the Reciprocal Research Network (RRN). The RRN was co-designed by the Museum of Anthropology, U’mista Cultural Society, Musqueam Indian Band, and Stó:lō Nation/Tribal Council to meet the need for museums to involve Indigenous communities in heritage work. With an actor-network theory approach, I interviewed nine stakeholders (users, developers, and steering group members) of the RRN and explored the platform and documents to identify RRN actors’ specific enactments of decolonial aspirations as affordances. My exploration revealed that the RRN is bound as a network by the Item Search, which allowed for multiple entry points into a vast collection of heritage objects. These multiple entryways broke down technical and cultural barriers to and allowed for plurality in interaction with heritage. The RRN also allowed a direct contestation of museums’ data ownership by allowing users to dictate how shared knowledge is used. The RRN also was deeply embedded in Vancouver, BC, and its surrounding area, where multiple points of offline/online interaction allowed for deep explorations of the histories of First Nations peoples and aided in projects aimed at their revival. However, platform logics and museums’ lack of participation in relationship-building threatened the decolonial aspirations of the RRN. Broadly, my findings indicate that the RRN, as a communal heritage platform, is a necessary step towards building relations with Indigenous communities that requires further participation on museums’ part to develop.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021.
Keywords [en]
Reciprocal Research Network, cultural heritage, Indigenous peoples, First Nations, actor-network theory, decolonial
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-43888OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-43888DiVA, id: diva2:1570226
Educational program
KS K3 Media and Communication Studies (master)
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Available from: 2021-07-15 Created: 2021-06-21 Last updated: 2021-07-15Bibliographically approved

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Information Systems, Social aspects

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf