Cox putting Derrida in Motion

Derrida claims “a science of the archive must include the theory of this institutionalization, that is to say, the theory both of the law which begins by inscribing itself there and of the right which authorizes it.” Essentially, Derrida believes theories regarding the law which begins the practice and why it should be permitted are required.  In Richard Cox’s Digital Curation and the Citizen Archivist, he certainly agrees with the need to have a right which authorizes archiving, however he potentially views the law(s) of archiving as something that are, and should, be subject to change.

Cox claims that collecting is of basic human instinct, and that deeper inner-meaning regarding life’s purpose is often encountered as a result.  There is an age old proverb: “you won’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve come from”.  Cox’s claim is a less cliché and more detailed version of this.  More importantly, it fills the void opened by Derrida when he claimed there was need for a right which authorizes archiving.  It is something that is instinctually done by humans and leads to further enlightenment. Cox, however, potentially disagrees with Derrida’s need for a theory of archiving law.

Cox also states the claim that “Archivists may need to alter their mission and priorities, but the possible results may be unprecedented in terms of gaining public support and understanding. “  Some may view this statement as counterproductive to Derrida’s as it changes the initial “law” of archiving.  However, much like any institution of great age, laws are certainly subject to change.  Cox believes the new mission, or law, of archiving should serve to work with society instead of work for the society.  This is because of archiving’s change in layout, digital. 

Not only does Cox make statements that align with Derrida’s, his statements are examples of humans putting the concepts of Derrida into action.  That is exactly how the citizen archivist connects with Derrida’s notion of the archive.

Question:  According to Cox, archiving teaches us as humans more and more about the inner-meaning of life.  If this is true how does that align with his beliefs that we should use certain restraints in what we post specifically on media such as MySpace and Facebook?


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