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Ruling CultureArt Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy$
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Fiona Greenland

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226756981

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226757179.001.0001

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Art Squad Agonistes

Art Squad Agonistes

(p.17) Chapter 1 Art Squad Agonistes
Ruling Culture

Fiona Greenland

University of Chicago Press

After a theft from an archaeology site and a standard police investigation, the inner logic of cultural power stands revealed. The idea that Italy is an “open-air museum” is central to this logic. The open-air museum is distinct from the roofed and walled variety in that its primary enclosure is the ground, and the soil is the one marker of continuity among the millions of artifacts, artworks, and architectural pieces distributed across the country. The open-air museum is the staging ground for state patrimony in Italy and sustains autochthonous narratives of the country’s past. It also generates patrimony capital, the accumulation of cultural heritage assets to further other state interests.

Keywords:   patrimony capital, open-air museum, logic of cultural accumulation, distributed sovereignty, Alfred Gell, presence effects, Quatremère de Quincy, Hans Gumbrecht

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