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Heritage in Britain: lifelong learning, archaeology and partnerships

By Marion Spendlove

Abstract

The thesis investigates whether contemporary policy and practice support formal and informal learning in the field of archaeology. Also, the assumption that multi-sector partnerships broaden community participation in heritage activities is interrogated.\ud The multi-method comparative research model applied both empirical and qualitative methods to three case studies in the Midlands of Britain. Each of these projects gained funding to exhibit archaeology to the public during the course of the research. The policies and practices of the key individuals in the partnerships were investigated through taped interviews, and the data was analysed using cognitive mapping (Tolman, 1948, Buzan, 1993). Data about the visitors were gathered through questionnaire surveys, taped oral accounts, and observational studies. The interests, concerns and agenda of the principle stakeholders were compared.\ud The results indicated that the role of the volunteers was crucial to the success and sustainability of the projects. However, some volunteers felt that they were weaker partners, and this was linked to a distinction between amateurs and professionals. The power of local authorities in heritage partnerships and their conflicting roles as developers and guardians of the archaeological heritage are questioned. Ways to facilitate participatory partnerships are suggested.\ud The research draws on Foucault's definition of discourse, and Bourdieu's human capital theories and his concept of habitus and distinction. The links between informal and formal learning are rarely researched and theorised, but this study identifies how archaeologists, acting as "cultural intermediaries" (Bourdieu, 1984: 14), can create and sustain learning opportunities for adults, collapsing some of the traditional hierarchies between popular entertainment, community knowledge, and intellectual knowledge. The thesis places learning in archaeology within the theory of a structured taxonomy of learning (Biggs, 1971, Biggs and Collis, 1982)

Topics: CC, LC5201
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1263

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Citations

  1. (2000). Doing Critical Management Research, Sage Publications, doi

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