The thesis investigates the museum representation of the nation in the post-Maoïst era (1976-2007). It aims to shed light on the politics of legitimation of the Chinese government and on the broader process of transition of Chinese museums

Building on the investigation 55 museums in Shanghai, Beijing and the Provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, the author argues that museums in China are the stage for a process of State re-appropriation and re-interpretation of the past and national identity pursued through the inscription of manufactured versions of the past into "official" national histrory, and through the discriminate definition of Chinese national identity

Set against the transformation of the Chinese museum system, the investigation reveals a discursive shift from Communist ideology to cultural nationalism implying the fragmentation of the State monopoly and a controlled process of diversification and specialization of museums