On 20 September 2013 Krista Lepik will defence her doctoral thesis " Governmentality and Cultural Participation in Estonian Public Knowledge Institutions" in the Council of the Faculty of the Social Sciences and Education.
Senior Lecturer Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt (University of Tartu),
Senior Lecturer Nico Carpentier (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Opponent: prof Fausto Colombo (Catholic University, Milan)
In this doctoral thesis, visitor-related power relations in Estonian museums and libraries have been analysed by taking into account the theoretical assumption that power and governmentality are not just a 'playground' for politicians, but reach into various levels and fields of the society. The goal of the thesis has been to study modes of governance through which the visitors are approached, and which possibilities to participate in culture are thus offered to visitors of museums and libraries. Various qualitative methods were applied to find out the results - the question was thus in detecting, not measuring modes of governance and possibilities of cultural participation. The material for the thesis was collected in two influential Estonian public knowledge institutions: the University of Tartu Library, and the Estonian National Museum. From the interviews and feedbacks of visitors and staff, but also from the strategic documents of those institutions, disciplining, categorization, exclusion (of visitors), and incorporation (of ideas of visitors) were emerging as strategies of governance. Governance is also supported by ways of articulating - whether the visitor is called a 'customer', 'friend' or it the all-inclusive 'visitor' the case. However, these ways of articulating form just a 'top of the iceberg' - the rest of the 'iceberg' is made up of often taken for granted practices (e.g. 'educating', 'serving') shaping the visit to a museum or a library. These taken-for-grantednesses are also closely related to cultural participation: is the visitor assumed to visit an exhibition or is the visitor provided with opportunities to contribute culturally. Finding the balance between taken for granted and new (sometimes imposed) opportunities is an important principle, eventually emphasized in the thesis.