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Id 630
Author Paschild C.
Title Community archives and the limitations of identity: Considering discursive impact on material needs
Paschild C.; Community archives and the limitations of identity: Considering discursive impact on material needs ;American Archivist vol:75 issue: 1 page:125.0

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Abstract This article examines how a postmodern-influenced discourse of identity shapes and influences critical analysis of community archives, both internally and externally, and asks if the accompanying terms of engagement shift focus, to negative effect, from the more pressing needs and challenges of these institutions and projects. Looking to archival professional literature and to a recent self-assessment of the Japanese American National Museum, the article argues that an overarching emphasis on questions of identity can distract community institutions from pragmatic evaluations of sustainable practice and can inadvertently mire archivists in a marginalizing rhetoric that blurs the issues at hand. © Cristine N. Paschild.



Community archives and the limitations of identity: Considering discursive impact on material needs. Nonetheless Bastian and Alexander continue to identify cohesion among the essays in common themes of an expanding and expandable view of a record the dynamic structures of communities and their complex cultural expressions that challenge archivists to look beyond traditional practice and embrace new ways of seeing and understanding records and the relationship between records and memory particularly as related to issues of social justice and community memory and expression. In their article Beyond Identity Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper argue that this stretching of identity has impoverished the term of all usefulness: conceptualizing all affinities and affiliations all forms of belonging all experiences of commonality connectedness and cohesion all self-understandings and self-identifications in the idiom of identity saddles us with a blunt flat undifferentiated vocabulary that is so infinitely elastic as to be incapable of performing serious analytical work or of providing necessary leverage for pragmatic change. JANM takes particular note of feedback that suggests that the institution is perceived by some as uppity and elitist and removed from the Japanese American community suggesting that previous strategies promoted the Museum as world-class leading to the misconception that the Museum had left behind its grassroots and community-based origins. Concluding their introduction to Community Archives Bastian and Alexander raise a point well worth embracing: As major and minor narratives conflate and become interdependent these essays illustrate above all that marginal is no longer a concept that makes sense in our world.

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