"Class Struggle the Board Game." Critical Theory. Accessed November 4, 2016. http://www.critical-theory.com/class-struggle-board-game-greatest-exist/.
“Archives are political … keeping those records that support the dominant position, the metanarrative, or the status quo.” – “Records Management and Archives: Finding Common Ground,” Sue Myburgh
In sociology, one of our major traditions is called Conflict Theory. It discusses the usual Marxist/Weberian tenants of class, status and party; labor, capital, and property; stratification and revolution. It also describes concepts like materialism, wherein the material conditions of a society’s mode of production (its way of producing the means of human existence) determine its organization and development.
We can carry this notion into our studies of material culture and archival science – what we left behind, what we are leaving behind, and what we will leave behind in these processes of human production and consumption all comprise a collective historical record. How we decide to handle these materials is dictated by ideologies (political ideas held by the dominant classes to support their interests by promoting a belief framework). These very materials constitute the basis, the evidence, for these belief frameworks – the falsehoods that infect (and are perpetuated by) colonized and commodified historiographies.
Thus, the rationalization of archival institutions means the development of abstract, means-end calculations that shape models for preservation and determine the ruling processes of archival administration and records management. In turn, what Myburgh describes as the “institution behind archives – government or business organization” (25) comprises the organizational elite, able to get its way because it is better mobilized (it controls the material means of administration). Archival bureaucracy, then, obfuscates the moral complexities and historical bases of things like copyright law and repatriation.