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Vad kastas i Lethe, och varför? En jämförande historisk studie av gallringsbegreppets diskursiva konstruktion

Sköld, Olle LU (2010) ABMM23 20101
Division of ALM and Digital Cultures
Abstract
Appraisal is assuredly one of the most important archival practices. The decision whether to preserve or destroy a collection of archival material, or parts thereof, has direct implications for multiple societal aspects, including the cultural heritage aspect, citizens’ ability to exercise their civil rights, and access to source material for legal and research purposes. Archival appraisal within the Swedish public sector is regulated by the constitution and a number of basic laws, for example arkivlagen (1990:782). The National Archives of Sweden has also published an appraisal policy that gives expression to the view that appraisal should be carried out in an informed and standardized manner. The main purpose of this Master’s thesis is... (More)
Appraisal is assuredly one of the most important archival practices. The decision whether to preserve or destroy a collection of archival material, or parts thereof, has direct implications for multiple societal aspects, including the cultural heritage aspect, citizens’ ability to exercise their civil rights, and access to source material for legal and research purposes. Archival appraisal within the Swedish public sector is regulated by the constitution and a number of basic laws, for example arkivlagen (1990:782). The National Archives of Sweden has also published an appraisal policy that gives expression to the view that appraisal should be carried out in an informed and standardized manner. The main purpose of this Master’s thesis is to show, examine and critically discuss how appraisal as a synchronous and diachronic practice should be understood not only as the result of a rational appliance of laws and appraisal policies, but also as a socially constructed activity that is governed by implicit linguistic structures – discourses. Using Ernesto Laclau’s and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory, this Master’s thesis aims to analyze how the perception of archival material considered either disposable or preservable, is discursively constructed. Furthermore, the discourse analysis that is conducted within the scope of this study also examines discursive change and permanence. The main sources are derived from the acts produced by the National Archives in Sweden when considering the inquiries concerning appraisal of the archives of the police during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The study of appraisal in archival science has been conducted from a multitude of perspectives, methods and using a great variety of source materials. Prominent researchers such as Terry Cook, Eric Ketelaar and Berndt Fredriksson have on multiple occasions shown the importance and the uses of the postmodern and social constructivist perspective in archival science. However, such empirically grounded studies of appraisal are at present few, if any.
The results demonstrated that the appraisal of the police archives during the period of study was structured by a range of discourses, including institutional discourse (verksamhetsdiskurs), several research discourses (forskningsdiskurser) and preservation discourse (bevarandediskurs). The discursive fluctuations between the 1960s and the 1970s were more significant than between the 1970s and the 1980s. This increasing permanence in the discursive construction of appraisal may be connected to several phenomena in the surrounding world, such as the mounting urgency of concerns relating to appraisal and the Swedish National Archives increased tendency to embrace axiomatic appraisal methods amongst others. Future studies in archival science should aim at linking together discourse analysis of appraisal with a broader contextual approach, in order to further the understanding of the societal nature of appraisal. (Less)
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author
Sköld, Olle LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
What is thrown into Lethe, and why? A comparative historical study of the discursive construction of appraisal
course
ABMM23 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Appraisal, Archives, Archival science, ALM, ABM, Arkivvetenskap, Arkiv, Gallring, Socialkonstruktivism, Kunskapsorganisation, Diskursanalys, Knowledge organization, Discourse analysis, Social constructivism
language
Swedish
id
1615737
date added to LUP
2010-08-25 15:47:51
date last changed
2014-04-11 14:16:29
@misc{1615737,
  abstract     = {Appraisal is assuredly one of the most important archival practices.  The decision whether to preserve or destroy a collection of archival material, or parts thereof, has direct implications for multiple societal aspects, including the cultural heritage aspect, citizens’ ability to exercise their civil rights, and access to source material for legal and research purposes. Archival appraisal within the Swedish public sector is regulated by the constitution and a number of basic laws, for example arkivlagen (1990:782). The National Archives of Sweden has also published an appraisal policy that gives expression to the view that appraisal should be carried out in an informed and standardized manner. The main purpose of this Master’s thesis is to show, examine and critically discuss how appraisal as a synchronous and diachronic practice should be understood not only as the result of a rational appliance of laws and appraisal policies, but also as a socially constructed activity that is governed by implicit linguistic structures – discourses. Using Ernesto Laclau’s and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory, this Master’s thesis aims to analyze how the perception of archival material considered either disposable or preservable, is discursively constructed. Furthermore, the discourse analysis that is conducted within the scope of this study also examines discursive change and permanence. The main sources are derived from the acts produced by the National Archives in Sweden when considering the inquiries concerning appraisal of the archives of the police during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The study of appraisal in archival science has been conducted from a multitude of perspectives, methods and using a great variety of source materials. Prominent researchers such as Terry Cook, Eric Ketelaar and Berndt Fredriksson have on multiple occasions shown the importance and the uses of the postmodern and social constructivist perspective in archival science. However, such empirically grounded studies of appraisal are at present few, if any. 
The results demonstrated that the appraisal of the police archives during the period of study was structured by a range of discourses, including institutional discourse (verksamhetsdiskurs), several research discourses (forskningsdiskurser) and preservation discourse (bevarandediskurs). The discursive fluctuations between the 1960s and the 1970s were more significant than between the 1970s and the 1980s. This increasing permanence in the discursive construction of appraisal may be connected to several phenomena in the surrounding world, such as the mounting urgency of concerns relating to appraisal and the Swedish National Archives increased tendency to embrace axiomatic appraisal methods amongst others. Future studies in archival science should aim at linking together discourse analysis of appraisal with a broader contextual approach, in order to further the understanding of the societal nature of appraisal.},
  author       = {Sköld, Olle},
  keyword      = {Appraisal,Archives,Archival science,ALM,ABM,Arkivvetenskap,Arkiv,Gallring,Socialkonstruktivism,Kunskapsorganisation,Diskursanalys,Knowledge organization,Discourse analysis,Social constructivism},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Vad kastas i Lethe, och varför? En jämförande historisk studie av gallringsbegreppets diskursiva konstruktion},
  year         = {2010},
}