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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Unnatural selection? The political materials collections in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Author:Millum, DannyISNI
Periodical:African Research and Documentation
Geographic terms:Great Britain
historical sources
Abstract:The collection of political ephemera at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, consists principally of two types of record. Firstly, policy documents such as manifestos and policy statements, speeches and articles by prominent figures, printed resolutions, constitutions and members' handbooks. Secondly, material produced for election campaigns, such as pamphlets, leaflets, posters, sample voting papers, badges, stickers and the like. The holdings are arranged first by country, then by type of organization (political party, trade union, pressure group), then by name of organization and finally at an item level in chronological order. The majority of the materials date from the period between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, and perhaps half of the material originates from or is concerned with Africa. After describing the collection and the policies and processes which have shaped and which continue to shape it, the author questiions the extent to which these holdings of political ephemera can be considered to constitute an archive as traditionally defined. He interrogates the way in which the collection, both as a whole and at an item level, serves as a site for the construction of historical knowledge, warning of the dangers of treating the archive and the items within it as a 'neutral' source. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]