argument top image

What is the intellectual framing of the UK statues debate?
Back to question

Statues do not offer opportunity for nuanced debate

Statues cannot give a fair look into the past - they are artwork. We cannot imagine which aspects of a person's life these monuments celebrate. If they're public, any exercise to change its role is futile. Removal of these statues is easier than expecting a politicised shift in the national psyche.

The Argument

People often see statues as a way to celebrate, reminiscence, and discuss historically significant people.[1] However, public statues of controversial figures – such as the British slave trader Edward Colston – lack the opportunity to discuss a person’s more substantial role in society, culture, politics, economics, history, and numerous other topics. Descriptions on statues are almost always brief, often one hundred and fifty words or less.[2] This concise of a statement does not give the reader a greater context, nor does it allow for multiple points of view. Instead, statues ought to be removed from their public domain and placed into museums and universities where curators and experts in the field can offer onlookers the opportunity for a nuanced debate about the statue.[3]

Counter arguments

When it comes to statues, context matters; statues represent an excellent way of conveying the context of a specific time and place. Rather than removing statues, we should add more around the ones that are already erected to strengthen the background and add perspective. Statues, if given the correct context, offer the opportunity for people to learn from our past.[4]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 00:16 UTC

Explore related arguments