Louvre Abu-Dhabi or the Myth of Westernalism

D. S. Litova
2020 Concept philosophy religion culture  
The study of the phenomenon of the Louvre Abu Dhabi (the Middle East Louvre Museum) from the historical and cultural points of view is relevant in several aspects. Firstly, the very fact of the creation of this museum is of interest. It operates as a kind of «successor» and «interpreter» of the Western tradition, which determines its Kulturträger activity. The history of the acquisition of the Mesopotamian collection by the Louvre Abu Dhabi serves as a case study. Secondly, based on this
more » ... l it is possible to trace the main characteristics of modern identity-building strategies and the build-up of «soft power». Moreover, it allows to reveal how alternative cultural-centric versions of social development are elaborated. This alternative reconsiders the thesis of the dominance of the «center» not in favor of the West. The analysis of the original way of presenting the «Western» cultural content within the framework of the «nonwestern» cultural code allows us to raise the question of the probable relapse at a symbolic level of cultural imperialism. It has its reflections in the specifics of the organization of the museum space and the features of the exposition of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The analysis allows to predict more clearly the possible cultural consequences of the museum's creation. Thirdly, an attempt to model the museum's cultural practices through appeal to the concepts of «mythology» and «myth» developed by Roland Barthes is of a theoretical value. The modeling comprises culturological interpretation of the museum's activities through the prism of Roland Barthes' Mythologies. It allows us to raise the questions regarding the possibilities and boundaries. E.g., whether traditional cultural symbols could be used as elements of «soft power». Furthermore, it becomes possible to describe the limited nature of «soft power» as a means of symbolic authority.
doi:10.24833/2541-8831-2020-1-13-194-200 fatcat:35vrj7uo4jaq3o77ke6frmzl7a