A Genre-Based Investigation of Workplace Communities
Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This article discusses various key concepts involved in Rhetorical Genre Studies (RGS) and some of the theoretical frameworks
frequently applied by RGS scholars, with the purpose of demonstrating their relevance to the archives and records management
domain. By drawing on activity theory, distributed cognition, and situated learning in particular, the article explores the
characteristics of professional communication practices, one of the central concerns of RGS. Understanding how organizational
actors collaborate, how they construct and reconstruct their collective identities, and how they enact the genres, or cultural
tools, that are the outcome and means of their activities is important to situate records creation and use within the actual
practices of workplace communities. A genre-based investigation of writing as a complex, multi-functional, and multivocal
activity and of learning as a continuous organizational process inherent in the active participation in professional communities
will reveal underrated dimensions of record-making, thus contributing to the enrichment of the theory and practice of records
management and archives.
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