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Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History$
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Alexander Bieri

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381373

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381373.001.0001

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date: 21 October 2017

Do Archivists Have the Right to Write History? What is at Stake When Writing Your Own Company’s History?

Do Archivists Have the Right to Write History? What is at Stake When Writing Your Own Company’s History?

Chapter:
(p.29) Do Archivists Have the Right to Write History? What is at Stake When Writing Your Own Company’s History?
Source:
Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History
Author(s):

Lionel Loew

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781381373.003.0004

One of the main values historians share is "objectivity". To put it naively, objectivity in historical writing means ensuring social and institutional factors don't interfere with the act of recording. Accordingly, it appears almost impossible for archivists to be objective when revisiting a company’s past. Does that mean archivists don't have the right to be business historians? Should they focus only on "newsreel" and "catalogue" history? Starting from a personal experience in the German academic world and with tentative use sociological tools, a generally accepted but never proved stance about one of the most dramatic events of the Roche past – the Seveso accident 1976 – is put into question. Starting from there, the article discusses suitability of archivists to academic history because of their position as ''employees'', and how sociology and business history can be synthesized to be both heuristic and useful in imposing company history outside of its field.

Keywords:   objectivity in historical writing, archivists, business historians, sociology and business history

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