Archives, records, and power: From (postmodern) theory to (archival) performance

TitleArchives, records, and power: From (postmodern) theory to (archival) performance
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsCook, Terry, and Joan M. Schwartz
JournalArchival Science
ISSN1389-0166, 1573-7519
AbstractThis article is the continuation and conclusion of our introduction, as the guest editors, that appeared in the first of these two special issues of Archival Science, which together are devoted to the theme, "Archives, Records, and Power." It argues that, in performing their work, archivists follow a script that has been naturalized by the routine repetition of past practice. They act in ways that they anticipate their various audiences would desire. If archival practice is to be influenced by the postmodern ideas of the authors of the essays in these two volumes, then archivists must see that the script, stage, and audiences have changed. Theory and practice are not opposites, not even polarities, but integrated aspects of the archivist's professional role and responsibility. Transparency of process about the archivist's performance will facilitate this integration, stimulate the building of archival knowledge, and enable present and future generations to hold the profession accountable for its choices in exercising power over the making of modern memory.
Short TitleArchives, records, and power