The renewal of archival theory since the 1990s has drawn upon the abstract and functional qualities of records, while their material aspects have been more or less excluded from theoretical discourse. Even if an emerging interest in materiality could be noticed, its impact and conceptual implications still need to be elucidated. This essay will explore the concept of materiality and how it has been dealt with in archival discourse, and discuss in what sense records could be regarded as material. It can be shown that while materiality is seldom explicitly addressed, it is an underlying theme in much archival discourse the recent decades, primarily regarding the ontological status of records, records as epistemological objects and the phenomenological dimension of records. It is not the least material properties that enable the functions and effects of records. By recognizing materiality, records could be better understood as socio-cultural phenomena.
"Things That Work - Meditations on Materiality in Archival Discourse,"
Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies: Vol. 8, Article 7.
Available at: https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol8/iss1/7