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Organizational Records as Genres: An Analysis of the “Documentary Reality” of Organizations from the Perspectives of Diplomatics, Records Management, and Rhetorical Genre Studies

Genre Theory in Information Studies

ISBN: 978-1-78441-255-5, eISBN: 978-1-78441-254-8

ISSN: 2055-5377

Publication date: 6 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter explores the relationship of rhetorical genre studies with archival studies, and identifies commonalities and differences between the two fields. By complementing and expanding the diplomatics approach to the analysis of the documentary reality of organizations, rhetorical genre studies provides the records disciplines with sophisticated conceptual tools that may be used to enhance understanding of how records are made, used, and transmitted in workplace contexts.

Findings

All genres are sites of continuous social, cultural, and ideological negotiations, and organizational records make no exception. By recognizing that records are culturally constructed artefacts that shape and are shaped through social interactions, and recordkeeping is an inherently ideological discursive practice, notions such as evidence and accountability take on new, more dynamic meanings. Record keepers as well as the creators and users of the records become agents who continuously engage in the production, reproduction, and transformation of the documentary reality of their organizations.

Originality/value

Drawing on rhetorical genre studies, this chapter offers an inclusive, situated, and dynamic view of organizational records that is in line with postmodern accounts of recordkeeping. The new reading of basic archival concepts and methods proposed in this chapter especially contributes to enrich the theoretical framework of records management, which has traditionally been represented as a technical discipline supporting unspecific ideas of organizational effectiveness.

Keywords

Citation

Foscarini, F. (2015), "Organizational Records as Genres: An Analysis of the “Documentary Reality” of Organizations from the Perspectives of Diplomatics, Records Management, and Rhetorical Genre Studies", Genre Theory in Information Studies (Studies in Information, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 115-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-537720140000011007

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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