triggers specific, "typified" answers, which in turn characterize and sustain the social context - made of people, actions, and texts - in which the genres are used. Thus, genres work as "means of orientation," in the sense that they "help us navigate the complex worlds of written communication and symbolic activity" (Andersen, 2008, p. 349) in which we are immersed. Every community, or group of individuals, who participates in some communicative action in order to get something done, establishes "conventions of discourse" as ways of "acting together" (Miller, 1984, p. 165). Miller (1994) refers to this kind of community, which is dynamic, porous and inclusive (in line with Bakhtin's dialogic view of the world), as a "rhetorical community." Other RGS scholars prefer the expression "discourse community" (Smart 2006). What should be emphasized here is that communities are always culturally and historically situated, and their structure and character are defined by, and at the same time give shape to, the genres that are enacted in such contexts. "In recognizing a text type," Charles Bazerman (2000, p. 16) writes, "we recognize many things about the institutional and social setting, the activities being proposed, the roles available to writer and reader, the motives, ideas, ideology, and expected content of the document, and where this all might fit in our life." RGS sees genres as helping structure social interaction in the production of work. This structuring function of genres comes from the "bottom," that is, from communities that keep on using "certain material tools [or genres] in certain ways that worked once and might work again" (Russell, 1997, p. 515). In contrast, the diplomatic view of documents focuses on the "rules of representation" inherent in them, rules that "reflect political, legal, administrative, and economic structures" (Duranti, 1989, p. 15). Diplomatics takes a top-down, normative, or prescriptive approach to the analysis of documents, being concerned with "juridical acts directed to the obtainment of effects recognized and guaranteed by the system" (Duranti, 1989-90, p. 12). This propensity is linked to the historical origins of the discipline and its primary goal of proving the authenticity of documents. On the contrary, RGS is not as concerned with established procedures as it is with the vagaries of process and practice. While one could say that the focus of diplomatics is in the ideal, impeccable form and the fixed, juridical norm, RGS is more interested in the specific and, oftentimes, innovative character of actual genres, their dynamics, and their departure from the norm as a result of their ongoing use. Genres are not defined by their following of strict compositional rules in a top-down fashion, but by the users themselves and their actual, contingent situations of use. To borrow a metaphor from design, a genre approach to understanding documentary relations and creating information management systems would parallel a view of urban design that, instead of following top-down rules for laying out streets, took a thorough analysis of so-called "cow-paths" as its guide. Cow- paths, also known as "calf-paths" or, less-pejoratively and more poetically, "desire lines," are the paths that pedestrians take informally over a grassy area, rather than using an established, usually paved route. These desire lines are people's chosen ways of navigating space, emerging first as barely noticeable tracks that eventually turn into beaten paths by the recurrence of their use. RGS is chiefly interested in documentary pathways that emerge as desire lines, directly resulting from the social preferences enacted on a daily basis by the information management practices of workers in an organization, in opposition to the documentary paved roads designed by information engineers and managers. Workarounds are, from this perspective, more important than any official procedure. MacNeil (2004, p. 230) argued for the need to construct a "'social' diplomatics" that, unlike traditional diplomatics based on the decontextualization of records, would explore the social and cultural contexts of records and achieve a "rich ethnographic description" through its alignment with perspectives from cultural history, historical anthropology, socio-linguistics and semiotics. Instead of dissolving the context into those elements that are encapsulated in the form of the record and those elements that are not and therefore do not matter (de-contextualized away), such a social diplomatics would revel in discovering and making explicit the multitude of connections between the record as text and its complex context. Recent reinterpretations of the concept of record share the poststructuralist view of language mentioned above. The idea of a record as a "continuum," as an object that is "in a state of always becoming" (McKemmish, 2005) - an idea that since the early 1990s has become part of the archival body of knowledge thanks to the Australian school of recordkeeping - mimics Bakhtin's notion of language as being in a "ceaseless flow of becoming" (cited in Allen, 2011, p. 18). Geoffrey Yeo (2010a, p. 97) referred to speech act theory, with its implication "that each act has a stable and particularized context," to highlight the "performative characteristics" of records. Seeing records as persistent representations of occurrents, Yeo shares with RSG an emphasis on the social agency of records. In the next section, we will offer a few examples of how RGS scholars have examined the dynamics of genres in ways that aim to suggest an alternative articulation of the documentary context of records. Genres and intertextuality An important assumption that RGS shares with archival science is that "no text is single, as texts refer to one another, draw from one another, create the purpose for one another" (Devitt, 1991, p. 336). The study of the interactions taking place among the texts typically produced and reproduced by one particular community, that of tax accountants, allowed RGS scholar Amy Devitt to reveal the social and epistemological characteristics of that community. By borrowing the notion of intertextuality from literary theory, Devitt examined the possible kinds of interactions (among texts, rhetorical situations, agents and purposes) one may observe within a community. The understanding of genres as social action requires that the "genre set" of a community be defined by the participants in that community. Repeated, structured activities and relationships prompt typified responses that draw on previous texts written in response to similar situations. This so-called "generic intertextuality" (p. 338) was implicitly acknowledged by the subjects of Devitt's study. When asked to name the types of texts they typically used to accomplish their work, tax accountants were able to name a few genres that Devitt then categorized as their "genre set." archives in liquid times 184 fiorella foscarini and juan ilerbaig intertextuality in the archives 185

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