The aim of this paper is to determine how socially excluded visitors to two museum exhibitions and two museum-based community development projects use that experience to construct individual and social identities. In order to do this it will determine the ways in which the contexts of the exhibitions and community development projects were constructed and how and why visitors and participants make meaning in these contexts. To do this it uses the 'circuit of culture' as the basis of an analysis, the moments of which are representation, production, consumption, regulation and identity. The paper concludes that the process of defensive identity activity provides the mechanism through which participants and visitors mitigate their experience of exclusion and provides the basis upon which UK government policy using museums as agents of social inclusion might act.
- social exclusion
- community development projects