Tystnaden i arkivet : en diskursiv studie av arkivariens roll i att ordna det förflutna för framtiden
Sammanfattning: “Silences haunt every archive”, says Rodney Carter, words that illustrate the significance of the archival practice in selecting and arranging the documents that reflect the past. This study begins in the notion that the archivist’s profession represents a certain form of power, manifested in this practice. What sort of history and which stories that will be known in the future lies very much in the hands of the ones that are supposed to save and conserve it. By interviewing three archivists at different archive institutions, the aim of this thesis is to study the nuances of this power to reveal the discourses that regulates this practice. I am interested in the archivist’s views on the obstacles and the assessments that comes with the practice; how they evaluate their part in appraising, descripting and structuring the archives. I want to know if they believe it’s important for the archives to reflect all of society in their collections, if archives as an institution have a democratic role to play in society, and if that means that the archivist must be aware of this and work towards incorporating a certain awareness in the practice. The theoretical perspective is based on concepts formed in postmodern archival theory: Presence, Context and Constructs. The result of the study shows that three discourses regulate the practice. The archivist’s self-perception that represents the conflict created by the traditional structure of objectivity, which is a view that contradicts the strive towards being relevant in society. Second, the relationship towards society that emphasise the importance of making the archive relevant to the user and the collections originators. Last, the practice of awareness, which means that in the archival practice, in selecting and arranging the archive, in appraisal and archival descriptions, the archivist inevitably creates new structures for old stories and new narratives as well. The archivist is essential in the creation of historical narratives and it requires the profession to be both aware of and transparent in the choices made in the construction of archives. Also, to be aware of the power that comes with the practice; to be able to revoke and revise the traditional view of the archivist’s role as a passive guardian, in order to weigh up the silence in the archives.
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