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Why business historians need a constructive theory of the archive

Stefan Schwarzkopf

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: Archival records are a constitutive element of business historical research, and such research, in turn, is fundamental for a holistic understanding of the role of enterprise in modern capitalist societies. Despite an increasing debate within business history circles about the need to theorize the historian as author and creator of narratives, a fuller reflection on the uses and limitations of the archive in business historical research has not yet taken place. This article takes its lead from theories of organisational epistemology, and asks to what extent business historians are trapped by an outdated, realist methodology and epistemology which is in danger of ignoring the multiple roles that archives play in their knowledge production.

Keywords: Business History; Methodology; Epistemology; Archives; Organizational Epistemology; Sociology of Knowledge (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B00 B4 N01 N80 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-hpe
Date: 2013-01
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Published in Business Archives 105 (2012): pp. 1-9

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