The Cosmohermeneutics of Migration Encounters at the Immigration Museum, Melbourne

in Museum Worlds
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  • 1 Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich philipp.schorch@ethnologie.lmu.de
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Drawing on a narrative study of Australian visitors to the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, this article explores the hermeneutic complexities of migration encounters through the meaning-making processes of museum visitors. Throughout this process of interpretive negotiations, museum exhibitions and visitor biographies become intertwined through narratives of migration. The empirical evidence emphasizes that the humanization of migration through stories and faces renders possible an understanding, explanation, and critique of sociopolitical contexts through the experience of human beings. Migration emerges as a practice that transforms cosmopolitanism from an abstract, normative ideal into a lived, interpreted reality. This article, then, is devoted to the cosmohermeneutics of migration encounters, that is, to an experienced and thus “actually existing cosmopolitanism” (Malcomson 1998) that entangles self and other through visitors' interpretive dialectics of reflexivity and empathy. The article suggests a cosmopolitan museum practice that opens interpretive spaces for shifting subjectivities and multiple identifications across differences and commonalities.

Museum Worlds

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