Defining rhetorical history: Exploring the world of corporate archivists/historians

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • SSHRC IG awarded 2013: This program of research will expand upon and refine the concept of rhetorical history by studying how archivists/historians in large, for-profit organizations use rhetorical history to strategically "re-present" the past so that it becomes a firm asset. Rhetorical history is the term that describes the process of organizations discursively re-interpreting past organizational events. Through this lens, the past is viewed as a tool that shapes the way stakeholders understand and interpret organizational actions. Thus, when the past is rhetorically constructed in the present it becomes a valuable catalyst for organizational activities and practices, including organizational change and strategic renewal. To study why and how organizations draw upon their past to build rhetorical histories we propose to analyze the activities of corporate archivists/historians. Our cross-industry, cross-country investigation is designed to examine how senior, corporate managers and archivist/historians use rhetorical history. In all, this body of research has the potential to present different communities (business, academic, public) with a different conception of how organizations use history as a strategic, persuasive tool.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International