Accepted Paper:

Archival collections as mediated representations: the debate continues  

Author:

Pertti Anttonen (University of Eastern Finland)

Paper short abstract:

Archives are modern institutions for the preservation of history and culture, but they are not innocent depositories of collectibles. The paper discusses an apparent reluctance in some areas of folkloristics to deal with the theoretical issue of collections as mediated representations.

Paper long abstract:

Archives are modern institutions for the preservation of history and culture, but they are not innocent depositories of collectibles. Instead of providing unmediated material for research and learning about other times and places, the collecting as well as the display of that which has been collected is always embedded in its own rhetorics and politics in terms of who is represented, how, for whom, and for what purposes. From the hermeneutic perspective, all archival documents are highly contextual, even if they may lack contextual information concerning the people mentioned or about the situations in which the text documents were written. This paper discusses the apparent reluctance in some areas of folkloristics to deal with the theoretical issue of archival collections as mediated representations, as indicated in some noteworthy recent publications. The paper also discusses the production of such representations as circulation of folklore.

Panel P51
The role of archives in the circulation chain of tradition