Academic journal article New Zealand Sociology

Sociology-Relevant Archive Resources for New Zealand

Academic journal article New Zealand Sociology

Sociology-Relevant Archive Resources for New Zealand

Article excerpt

Sociologists do not just need access to 'scholarly equipment' (including libraries), but may wish to draw on a wide range of archives and collections, both for teaching and research, and so must be active in ensuring the 'health' of these collections. Indeed, the relationship of sociology to documentary archives is not unlike that - often problematic - relationship between anthropology and museums for which indigenous material culture was collected (see e.g. McCarthy, 2011) and in which it was stored and displayed, which in turn was much like the relationship between naturalists and collections of biotica.

Beyond academic and popular social science texts a wider variety of literary genres relate to sociology: social commentary and criticism, 'sociologically-relevant' novels or films (such as - classically- Balzac, Dickens, Zola, Hugo, Tolstoy, Trollope) and other 'Social Realism' novels, not to mention 'Novels of manners' and detective fiction. Some literary scholars have identified local equivalents.

Government (and related) documents/records are stored in the Government Archive (archives.govt.nz). Another source are oral histories More than 10,000 recordings (mainly from 1960 on) are stored in the Oral History and Sound collection of the Alexander Turnbull Library: https://natlib.govt.nz/collections/a-z/oral-history-and-sound.

As well as print library resources some is digital, much stored in the National e-heritage archive. The Web archive (a Turnbull Library service) provides access to this, or at least cataloguing of it. In addition there are the large loads of material held within the New Zealand web space (especially as defined by 'New Zealand' domain names. This is harvested by DIA every few years and by scanned for metadata by InternetNZ more regularly. However, it is not clear how social researchers might access this and privacy concerns may clamp down on widespread access.

Film and audio material is not only of considerable classroom use (e.g. Tolich, 1992) but important in providing a record of social thinking at the time, and sociologists need to be active in encouraging the development of such material. ETV has been working since 2008 with a small team of librarianarchivists in recording, classifying and making available relevant film and audio resources. In particular, the material they record is classified by content although the schemer used is not particularly sophisticated. The material is largely NZ-orientated. Since curating is carried out in interaction with users' examination of its holding can provide an insight into which genres, topics etc. are available (and perhaps roved consideration about what further possibilities ought to be explored).

A search using the terms 'Sociology' (supplemented with 'political science' and 'anthropology') yielded nearly 400 items. Nearly 30% are documentaries and 20% each news and current affairs with 15% falling under a 'magazine' category. Reality shows are 7%, dramas 5% and (short) films another 1-2%. Inclusion of drama and reality may be useful resources even though they are (partially) fictional (again cf. Tolich, 1992). Material includes 'Filthy Rich'; 20/20; 60 Minutes; Fair Go; Made in New Zealand; Minority Voices; Neighbourhood; Q & A; & The Nation. In terms of length almost all clustered around either 30 mins or 1 hour. Half carried a general age-tag although the remainder have older recommended age-ranges. Of the range sampled, over 2/3rds were tagged 'Sociology',

There is also Ngä Taonga Sound & Vision (http://www.ngataonga.org.nz/) which is New Zealand's moving image and sound archive built from The Former Film Archive or Sound Archives Collections. …

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