The organisational identity of science centres

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This paper presents an empirically grounded mapping of the organisational identity that science centres in the UK are trying to carve out for themselves against the backdrop of developing organisational strategies and multiple external pressures, expectations and perceptions. I attempt this through a relational analysis that views the science centres’ organisational identity formation as constituted by and through a dialectic of autonomy and heteronomy that subtends the differential relationships science centres seek to cultivate vis-à-vis what I describe as the ‘parent’ fields – namely, science, formal education, the leisure industry and the museum. Science centres seek to stage a unique encounter of these four parent fields – an encounter that appropriates many significant dimensions of these fields without duplicating them. Through my analysis I hope to capture some of the key tensions and dilemmas that science centres and their organizational actors have to grapple with, the balancing acts they have to perform, and the complex organisational identity that is being forged in the process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309 - 323
Number of pages15
JournalCulture and Organization
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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