Europeanization in Regional Museums?

Examples from Sweden and Poland




demoratization, heritage, regional museums, Europeanization


European museums have undergone major changes in recent decades, mirroring many of the social and cultural processes taking place in Europe. Two of the main issues that have shaped the public discourse concerning cultural heritage are that of democratization and civil participation, both of which have not only mobilized policies but also redefined musealized heritage. At the same time, a ‘new museology’ approach, where heritage is understood as a dynamic construct, shared and interpreted by communities rather than monopolized by external authorities, has inspired many museums to rethink their visions and programs. While heritage democratization processes may be found both in the Lund and Tarnów museums, there are considerable differences between the two of them. The article examines these with the use of several concepts from core civilizational ideas such as: utility, progress, dignity, democratic governance and inclusion. In both cases, heritage is used to support the present political legacy: in the Swedish case, the emphasis is openly put on diversity and civil empowerment, whereas in Tarnów the narrative of past glory overwhelms other aspects of the past. Nevertheless, it is the European concept of the ‘person’ which stands behind both of them, however vague and complex its conceptualization may be.


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Author Biographies

Łucja Piekarska-Duraj, Uniwersytet Jagielloński

holds an MA in European Studies (2002) and a PhD in sociology (2013) both received from the Jagiellonian University. She is currently affiliated with the Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University. She is a social anthropologist, interpretive heritage trainer and cultural manager. As a researcher, she is mainly interested in relations between social memory, heritage and identity, especially in the domain of museums. As a heritage consultant she promotes interpretive and democratic museology. She specialises in storytelling for museums and the support for brand management strategies. She has co-authored a manual for interpretive museology Lokalne muzeum w globalnym świecie. Poradnik praktyczny [Local museum in a global world] (written with Joanna Hajduk, Sebastian Wacięga, Piotr Idziak, Kraków 2013) as well as a number of museum exhibitions and projects (e.g. dzieło-działka, Kraków Ethnografical Museum, 2010; “Wirtualne muzea Małopolski”, 2009-2014; “Muzeobranie”, 2004-2006). After a decade of museum activism, she joined the UNESCO Chair for Holocaust Education at the Jagiellonian University (2016).

Barbara Törnquist-Plewa, Lund University

is a professor of Eastern and Central European Studies at Lund University in Sweden. In the years 2005-2017 she was the head of the Centre for European Studies in Lund. Her main research interests are nationalism, identity and collective memories in Eastern and Central Europe, but she has also published on Polish-Swedish cultural relations. She has participated in many international research projects and, most recently, she was the leader of the European research network “In Search for Transcultural Memory in Europe” (financed by the EU’s COST-programme 2012-2016). Currently she is co-leader of the International Research Training Group “Baltic – Borderlands”, run by the universities in Greifswald, Tartu and Lund since 2009. Her international experience also includes visiting fellowships at universities in Warsaw (2001), Berkeley (2003) and Stanford (2013) and lecturing visits at the National University of Malaysia (2014) and the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (2016). She is the author and editor of a number of books and articles in English, Swedish and Polish. The latest are: The Twentieth Century in European Memory (ed. with Tea Sindbaek Andersen, Amsterdam 2017), Disputed Memory. Emotions and Memory Politics in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (ed. with Tea Sindbaek Andersen, Berlin–Boston 2016), Whose Memory? Which Future? Remembering Ethnic Cleansing Beyond and Lost Cultural Diversity in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe (New York–London 2016) and The Europeanization of Heritage and Memories in Poland and Sweden (ed. with Krzyszof Kowalski, Kraków 2016).




How to Cite

Piekarska-Duraj, Łucja, and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa. 2018. “Europeanization in Regional Museums? Examples from Sweden and Poland”. Politeja 15 (1(52):25-55.