Monday, February 11, 2019
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, Co. Down, Northern Ireland :: Observation Essays, Descriptive Essays
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, Co. Down, Northern Ireland Monuments and museums are arenas of mankind history and for the establishment and articulation of identities and narratives.1 Decisions taken as to the formation of museums and the selection, pompousness and organisation of exhibits are influenced by criteria which are not necessarily politically neutral these may especially involve devices of political elites to emphasise aspects of common togetherness and thus exert control oer communities.2 Memory and commemoration of past events and generations is by its nature a political and contested act, especially in sharply split societies.3 It is no surprise that recently established governments and states should specially concern themselves with the production of such forms of festivities, commemorations, and monuments.4 As rulers of a sharply divided society, union member elites in Northern Ireland in the aftermath of its eventful innovation in 1920-1 had p articular reasons to concern themselves, and did concern themselves, with such strategies of power.5 The integration of the provinces Catholic minority may have been, or may have been entangle to be, beyond the rulers of Northern Ireland6 but this very fact heightened the importance of preserving the highest accomplishable degree of political unity under unionist hegemony among the Protestant majority.7 In this context, the opening of the Ulster Folk Museum, located in Cultra in County Down, Northern Ireland (and straightaway linked to the Ulster Transport Museum), in 1964, major power theoretically be seen as a strategy in the ongoing attempted maintenance of unionist hegemony and social control in Northern Ireland. This might especially be assumed in that the early 1960s were a time when compact for reform in Northern Ireland was increasing, and when the governing unionist coalition was fracturing, part under the strains of early deindustrialisation.8 Such a tourist site mig ht also be seen as a propagandistic effort to arouse for political support (or reduced political opposition) from those with ancestral links to Ulster and its traditions in the wider diaspora. There are however manifold reasons for thinking that it may be rather too tempting to exaggerate the political intentions behind the formation of such a museum at such a time. Foucauldian notions of the exertion of knowledge-power over the human body have been rightly criticized (even when applied to more flourishing contexts) in that they fail properly to address complicated questions of agency and the bang of in whose interest any given strategy was exerted.