reality, it has the tendency to encourage exclusion, especially when motivated by politics. Heritagization then becomes a 'means to diffuse doctrines and define communities that should embrace them.'10 For such a community, a collective identity is needed; that identity should be based on a social memory to give the community continuity, cohesion and consistency. In the construction of a social memory, heritage, especially archives, can be very useful as they can document the common past.11 An example of heritagization could recently be witnessed at the Nationaal Archief. On February 28, 2012, the Nationaal Archief welcomed more than 50 representatives of indigenous tribes of Taiwan. They were spearheaded by their minister of Indigenous Affairs and accompanied by the director of the Taipei Representative Office in the Netherlands. Despite the relatively brief presence of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in Taiwan (1624-1662), the Daghregisters (accounts of daily affairs) of VOC Fort Zeelandia contain a wealth of information about the history of Taiwan. They describe in detail both the original Austronesian society and the early Chinese settlements of the 17th century. As this information is practically not available through other written sources, it is not surprising that the Daghregisters were translated into Chinese. The representatives of the indigenous tribes, however, especially came to the Nationaal Archief to view the original documents, which they, obviously, could not read. Upon seeing the records, they became visibly excited though. Incomprehensible or not, the Daghregisters symbolize a past they wish to be part of. Archives as information Appropriating archives to evoke a common past: this seems in stark contrast to their administrative, legal and research purposes. However, records can never be regarded as neutral repositories of facts, as their creation was based upon predominant ideas about what should be remembered and what should be forgotten. Even archives which have not been ascribed any heritage value are, from the very moment they were conceived, shaped by the politics of memory. Therefore, rather than studying archives-as-source, they should be examined as expressions as well as instruments of those in power. The American anthropologist Ann Stoler coined this approach the 'archival turn', repositioning the archive as a subject of investigation rather than just a site of research.12 For researchers, this approach may be fairly new; for archivists it should not. In any case, archivists have always made decisions which seriously affected value, form, arrangement, description, interpretation and use of archives. Records may be created by those in power, but once the responsibility has been transferred, they become recreated by archivists. Preferably while respecting their historical, JINNA SMIT TO CLAIM OR NOT TO CLAIM - SHARING ARCHIVES: POLICY AND PRACTICE 9 A short, but useful discussion of the basics of the 'Authorized Heritage Discourse' and of alternative para digms is given by Benjamin Trias. See: Trias, Living at the Gates of History, 6-18. 10 Trias, Living at the Gates, 14. 11 Social memory is the sum of collected memories; it indicates the social process of remembering. See: Ketelaar, 'Sharing: collected memories in communities of records', 44-61, especially p. 48 and p. 54. See also: Thomassen, Archiefwetenschap, 11. 12 Stoler, 'Colonial Archives', 87-109; Stoler, Along the Archival Grain, 44-46. See also: Schwartz and Cook, 'Archives, Records and Power', 6. 175

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Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2012 | | pagina 177