WP263 How museums de-marginalise migration

Pelsmaekers & Van Hout
Collection: Key words ,


Newly set-up social heritage museums have attempted to counter the anonymous and stereotyped presentations of migrants in the public sphere. Drawing on the tension between media and museum representations of human mobility, this paper offers a multimodal analysis of de-marginalisation strategies in museum discourses of migration. We argue that in contrast to contemporary news media and their predominantly ?exclusionary? discourse (Krzy?anowski, Triandafyllidou, and Wodak 2018), these museums portray (e)migration? enthusiastically, with varying degrees of sophistication, with strategies to generate involvement, empathy, and pleasurable experience. Historical actors and events are thereby stretched as well as compressed? and essentialized into a phenomenon of people of all times everywhere. In this process of de-marginalization, however, museums and visitors also pay a price of differentiation and authenticity. We suggest that this mainly happens under the pressure of neoliberal economic conditions and the exigencies of the experience economy.