Rhetorics of Value: Constituting Worth and Meaning through Cultural Display

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Abstract

Museum exhibitions are commonly seen as critical sites for the constitution of identity and difference. They provide occasions and resources for representing and reflecting on notions of quality, worth, and other social values and meanings. But how are values and identities shaped and produced through exhibitions? How are exhibitions put together in ways that might communicate particular values and shape various identities? This article begins to consider how “rhetorics of value” are produced through contemporary museum exhibitions by exploring the multilayered, multimedia communication involved as exhibitions convey evaluations and interpretations through visual and verbal means and through “designed space.”

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