Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Emanuela Guano, PhD - Chair

Second Advisor

Cassandra White, PhD

Third Advisor

Kathryn Kozaitis, PhD


In this thesis, I explore the variety of ways museums operate in a neoliberal, global economy. I describe interactions between museums, people, governments and money. These articles examine the different dimensions and connections between these discursive relationships, such as the ways in which museums work for and also work with governments, schools, tourists and local citizens in their communities. Additionally, I discuss my experiences as an anthropologist who is studying institutions controlled by elites. I use Larua Nader's (1969) theory of "studying up," to describe how anthropolotists must be increasingly flexible when researching museums in the age of neoliberalism. I present findings that suggest people working in museums have a heightened sense of awareness of the economy, and I show how they have a working vocabulary of "economic terms" that is ever present. Additionally, I discuss my assumptions that museum professionals no longer feel a sense of personal agency, instead they demonstrate feelings of being "controlled by the market."

Included in

Anthropology Commons