Accepted Paper:

"I want to take part in this campaign to improve women's status": tradition archives as mouthpieces?  

Author:

Pia Olsson (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

Organising, responding to, and finally analysing a collection in a tradition archive means different things to the different parties concerned. With examples from one Finnish tradition archive I discuss the ways these expectations affect the process of circulating vernacular imagination.

Paper long abstract:

Organising, responding to, and finally in the end analysing a collection in a tradition archive means different things to the different parties concerned. Something that for an archive can be a 'neutral' aim to record cultural knowledge can for the respondent appear as an invitation to make a common cause for something considered personally important. Similarly, something that for a respondent is an innocent piece of everyday information can in the collections take shape as part of an ideological project.

In my paper, I would like to discuss the way the different kinds of expectations towards the recording of vernacular tradition affect to the motivation of the different interest groups. My experience of tradition archives is that of the researcher who literally is circulating the material once collected into a research and back to the field. In my case, the collections have been two questionnaires dealing with women's lives archived in the National Board of Antiquities in Finland. These questionnaires have not ended up as part of a treasury or a dead end, but this is not always the case. With these - retrospective - examples I would like to analyse the factors that are affecting the ways the collections in tradition archives are relevant to present-day phenomena.

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