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Accepted Paper:

Introduction: Documentation as relation?  
James Leach (CNRS - CREDO - Aix-Marseille Université)

Paper short abstract:

What if we think of documentation not as the container of pre-existent information (which in effect materialises the differences between knower and researcher), but a materialisation of an exchange about what knowledge is and can do.

Paper long abstract:

As Tony Crook (2007) demonstrated, the ‘modern’ impulse to document knowledge arises in a form of temporality in which there are objects or units of information that disappear if not transmitted or recorded. We fear the loss of knowledge because the past recedes, and we and cannot go back and retrieve something that is gone. Perspectival forward movement in time spurs documentation to prevent things receding into the past. Documentation is elevated to a vital role, but also a role in which the purpose and outcome of the interactions between researcher and informant are ‘pre-figured’ (Moutu 2013). They produce ‘knowledge’. Knowledge in this form can apparently transcend time, become something universal and of stable value. As such, knowledge can and should be rescued from time, put outside time. Data collection and subsequent analysis remakes the space of the museum or the academy as the epitome of the enlightenment project of knowledge making, of what we call ‘civilization’. For this to happen though, data as a basis for expert knowledge making must be acquired in a form in which it can persist. Persistence is a matter of extracting knowledge from the everyday messy mortality of life and purifying it into a universal, reified, and transcendent form. Holding such universal knowledge makes the holder/producer central, and makes the task of acquiring and transforming it a political and a moral question in which ownership, attribution, custody, and value, are naturalised.

What are the alternatives?

Panel Evid07a
Responsible documentation? I
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -