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‘People-Place-Process’ and Attachment in the Museum

A New Paradigm for Understanding Belonging?

Susannah Eckersley

Keywords: belonging; displacement; home; memory; migration; museums; people; place

Previous studies of place attachment have tended to focus on the positive (rather than negative) reasons why individuals associate themselves with a particular place, while studies on memory and identity have frequently been based on negative experiences of and in place. Drawing on interviews and focus groups, this article highlights how Germans and Poles with a history of forced migration have different perceptions of the same geographical ‘home’, and how their tangible and intangible encounters during a museum visit helped to generate these understandings. It argues that a people-place-process complex of attachment provides a more useful conceptualisation of belonging than either place attachment or memory, because it encapsulates a greater breadth of ideas that contribute towards these feelings.

Affiliations

Eckersley, Susannah - Newcastle University