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PART 2 Anthropological assemblages

My concern in Part 1 was principally to set out my stall by arguing for a view of culture that draws attention to the relations between a particular set of knowledge practices, their inscriptions in cultural assemblages and their roles in acting on varied kinds of conduct as parts of governmental processes. While hinting at the broader applicability of this argument, I have drawn my main examples from the material and governmental entanglements of aesthetics and anthropology. I now, in Part 2, focus on the latter by exploring the relations that were forged between anthropological fieldwork and museum practices in case studies of two of the examples I have already referred to: Melbourne’s National Museum of Victoria and the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. I examine these with a view to illustrating their functioning as cultural assemblages in which anthropological expertise is put into action via the mechanisms of both public and milieus. The two studies also illustrate the significance of anthropology’s relations to different governmental rationalities as exemplified by its role, in the first case, in a settler colony at a crucial moment in its separation from an imperial formation to establish an independent national governmental domain and, in the case of the Musée de l’Homme, its role at an equally crucial moment in the establishment of a French imperial governmental domain. In addressing these issues, I also further amplify the respects in which the processes of ‘making culture’ and ‘changing society’ operate through the different ‘working surfaces on the social’ that are produced by the deployment of different traditions of anthropological expertise.