Accepted paper:

Cold War governance through archival lenses

Authors:

Ioana Macrea-Toma (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

Technologies of repression share an inimical space within the Cold War with technologies of liberation. How do they reinforce each other's construction of psychosis by building epistemic archival protocols?

Paper long abstract:

Technologies of repression share an inimical space within the Cold War with technologies of liberation. How do they reinforce each other's construction of psychosis by building epistemic archival protocols? By taking as case studies two archival sites belonging to two adversarial Cold War observational tribunes (Radio Free Europe and the Romanian Secret Police) sharing the same space for observation I intend to unravel the contradictions of rational evidentiary practices within the Cold War conjectural epistemes. Instead of endorsing narratives about truth and propaganda, emancipation versus control, I am looking at the taxonomical archival processes who produce certainty through recursive bureaucratic-political systems of managing ignorance. What I propose therefore is a systemic-ethnographic approach to Cold War archives, which should go against and along the archival grain, by interpreting their shared conceptual assumptions as well as by following their procedural groping. The Foucauldian analysis of the inherent rationality of indexed topics (as encrypted in the card indexes) will be counterweighed by the minute exploration of the in-built anxiety of little utopian policies.

panel IW006
Anxiety at the top (EN)