Conflicting Representations of National Identity
Meaning-making through a Nepalese museum
School of International Service, American University, Washington DC
This article utilizes ethnographic methods to study Nepalese national identity as represented by and through official and everyday accounts of a building. The building—the former royal palace—was recently converted to a museum and opened up for public access. Official accounts represent the museum as a site for unity and breaking down of barriers between the public and the state while aspects of the recent monarchy, such as its role in deploying the army against the Maoists during the recent civil war, are silenced and the most recent monarch is invisible. Everyday representations draw upon these meanings but reformulate the museum (and the past) as a site and time where the relationship between the monarch (as representing the state) and the citizens was better off than today. As such, the state’s representations and silences themselves have facilitated space for challenging official meanings about the museum and the monarchy.
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© borderlands ejournal 2010