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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alan McKinlay
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Michel Foucault’s historiography remains enigmatic, despite his intention of providing a conceptual ‘toolkit’ for historical and contemporary research. We examine Foucault’s own practice as a historian and his deliberate stripping out of the social history of the events and institutional processes he analysed. We consider the making of the modern archive and what this means for business history. One of the peculiarities of the business archive is its systematic subordination of personnel records. Following Foucault, we suggest that there are two ways to compensate for this archival blind spot: first, to examine those disruptive moments when subaltern knowledge, behaviour or resistance throws established knowledge categories and institutional routines into doubt; second, to reverse the conventional hierarchy of the business archive and pay as much attention to contrary commentaries on the institution’s expectations. The ways that Victorian bank clerks accommodated, coped with or ridiculed their employers’ highly prescriptive employment practices are considered through archival marginalia: specifically, a set of workaday cartoons that one small group of clerks used to amuse themselves that offered a sophisticated commentary on bank management, work and organization. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Author(s): McKinlay A
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Management and Organizational History
Online publication date: 27/02/2013
ISSN (print): 1744-9359
ISSN (electronic): 1744-9367
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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