Archive for November 21st, 2011

06 – Museology   no comments

Posted at 11:31 pm in Uncategorized

Museum Studies

The museums by themselves have different processes and meanings for the population and institutions.  Through these classifications of museums, we can provide a more accurate linkage in between the object of study (or exhibited) and the audience.

Cultural Theory

Through contemporary cultural theory we can incorporate all sort of art practices into the everyday life. This will create our culture. So culture is becoming something less separatist in which art or culture itself no longer belongs to the educated or rich classes. The cultural theory is now being implemented more and more within museums, specially in social history and contemporary collections (Macdondald, 2011). Contemporary cultural theory seeks to utilize culture from a pluralistic perspective.

We inhabit a culture in the sense that we share a certain amount of knowledge and understanding about our environment with others.

We have evolved into a society that shares what Stuart Hall (1997: 18) in Macdonald (2011:18) defines “cultural maps” which makes us question or make judgements the value, status and legitimacy of products or cultural practices.

Within museums we are trying to materialize values and trying to give meaning to objects. For this reason museums within cultural theory are public spaces in which their values and the culture creation is always under debate.

Main theoretical apporach

In order to give meaning to something, we depend on a social construction of a signifying system that creates a shared understanding. The semiotic research of Ferdinand de Saussure, indicates that signifiers and signifieds relate arbitrarily. This means that perhaps the meaning or classification (curation) system to an object could be completely different  from the perspective of a different culture.

When an artifact is being curated, this is attached or linked to an interpretation system that could be attached to a single cultural ‘string’.  Taking the post-structuralist approach, we can provide a structure of interpretation that adapts to the cultural needs of the artifact or the audience. The attempt to materialize culture and present how an object can change through time,  tends to fit to the vision of the post-structuralist thinking.

For this project this could be the way in which post-structuralism becomes the main way of presenting an object of study.  A multi curated object presented from different cultural backgrounds and within different cultural audiences. Although the object can be presented with several meanings, “poststructuralist theory does not automatically imply that the material world ceases to exist” (Macdonald, 2011:21), but it will be understood from different perspectives or meanings.

V&A Mark Lane Archway

V&A Mark Lane Archway (Gallery 49)

The Object

Before photography, multimedia and all the new technologies, the object by itself was the way to present the culture or places which it came from. For this reason I think that the object presented should contain enough information to communicate or represent the specific qualities of a culture. When the object is unique it will be a challenge to transmit the embedded information to a replica that could be presented somewhere else.  The use of modern manufacture technology and prototype making can assist with this process.  But it will be the correct adaptation of the object and its environment what will be able to make the correct communication to the audience possible.


MACDONALD, S. 2011. A companion to museum studies, Malden, MA ; Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.

PEARCE, S. 2001. Interpreting Objects and Collections, Andover, Routledge, 2001.

Business Economics Week 2   no comments

Posted at 10:20 pm in Economics,Uncategorized

This week I looked at the workings of competitive markets: first in basics, before turning more specifically to my research question around how the Web has changed competition between businesses from an economic viewpoint. I continue to refer to the Sloman, Hinde and Garratt book, ‘Economics for Business’ (5th ed).

As outlined in my posts on management studies from previous weeks, firms are greatly affected by market environments (particularly when it comes to pricing strategies). The more competitive the market, the greater the domination of the market over firms (e.g. resulting in ‘price takers’ nearer the model of the ‘perfectly competitive’ market when price is entirely outside a firm’s control, rather than ‘price setters’ nearer the model of the monopolistic, ‘imperfect’ market).

Although price is often at the heart of competitive strategy, the significance of non-price factors of competition should also not be underestimated. By differentiating one firm’s products from another’s, such as through design and marketing/advertising, firms seek to influence demand. Of course, the most dramatic growth in advertising expenditure over the last decade or so is on the internet (which increased from virtually nothing in 1998 to nearly 20% of all UK total advertising expenditure in 2008 based on data in the Advertising Strategic Yearbook 2009).

The better a firm’s knowledge of a market, the better it will be able to plan its output to meet demand. In particular, knowledge related to the size and shape of current and future demand choices by consumers is critical to the investment decisions that businesses make (Philip Collins, OFT Chairman, Speech 2009). Such predictions include the strength of demand for a firm’s products followed by responsiveness to any changes in consumer tastes (particularly when the economic environment is uncertain). Collecting data on consumer behavior is therefore highly valued by businesses, assuming it can be analyzed properly so it can be used to estimate price elasticity and forecast market trends and changes in demand. Price elasticity as a concept is the measure of the responsiveness of quantity demanded to a change in price. Methods for measurement include market observations, market surveys and market experiments.

Conversely, consumers face a similar problem when they have imperfect information about, in particular complex, products/services. In finding ways for consumers to trust information provided by sellers, establishing a reputation and third parties helping firms to signal high quality can assist. For example, Sloman, Hinde and Garratt refer to the online auction site eBay providing a feedback system for buyers and sellers so they can register their happiness or otherwise with sales.

The supply side of the market is just as important as the demand side. Businesses can increase their profitability by increasing their revenue or by reducing their costs of production. Both these concepts are subject to economic theorizing to discover the particular output at which profits are maximized. The answer in any one case is heavily dependent on the amount of competition in the market which is measured, in turn, by concentration levels.

E-commerce is a force at work undermining concentration (dominance by large consumers) and bringing more competition to markets. Its effects include:

• Bringing larger numbers of new, small firms to the market (‘business to consumer’/B2C and ‘business to business’/B2B e-commerce models), which can take advantage of lower start-up and marketing costs.

• Opening up competition to global products and prices, resulting in firms’ demand curves becoming more price elastic particularly when transport costs are low.

• Adding to consumer knowledge, through greater price transparency (e.g. through price comparison websites) and online shopping agents giving greater information on product availability and quality.

• Encouraging innovation, which improves product quality and range.

On the other hand, e-commerce disadvantages still include – for example – issues around delivery (such as timing) and payment security. Furthermore, larger producers may still be able to undercut small firms based on low cost savings from economies of scale.

Sloman, Hinde and Garratt provide an interesting case study of the challenges to Microsoft by the antitrust authorities in the EU and the US – something which I am very familiar with as a former competition lawyer. This example is illustrative of the balancing exercise required when assessing the virtues of allowing very large firms to be unfettered in terms of their potential exclusionary practices, versus allowing smaller firms a more even playing field to challenge such large firms which could dampen the latter’s investment in innovation over the long-term.

Of course, new internet-only firms (such as Facebook and Google) have very different business models from that of Microsoft, including the provision of numerous free products as part of a desire to create large networks of users and heavy dependence on tailored advertising revenues.

Next week, I will look at business strategy this time from an economic (rather than management) perspective.

Written by amk1g10 on November 21st, 2011

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