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Singular memory or institutional memories? Toward a dynamic approach

Corbett, J, Grube, DC, Lovell, H ORCID: 0000-0003-1164-0356 and Scott, Rodney 2018 , 'Singular memory or institutional memories? Toward a dynamic approach' , Governance, vol. 31, no. 3 , pp. 555-573 , doi: 10.1111/gove.12340.

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The ability of the civil service to act as a reservoir of institutionalmemory is central to the pragmatic task of governing.But there is a growing body of scholarship that suggests thebureaucracy is failing at this core task. In this article, we distinguishbetween two different ways of thinking aboutinstitutional memory: one “static” and one “dynamic.” In theformer, memory is singular and held in document form,especially by files and procedures. In the latter, memoriesreside with people and are thus dispersed across the array ofactors that make up the differentiated polity. Drawing onfour policy examples from three countries, we argue that amore dynamic understanding of the way institutions rememberis both empirically salient and normatively desirable. Weconclude that the current conceptualization of institutionalmemory needs to be recalibrated to fit the types of policylearning practices required by modern collaborativegovernance.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Corbett, J and Grube, DC and Lovell, H and Scott, Rodney
Keywords: institutional memory, governance
Journal or Publication Title: Governance
Publisher: Blackwell Publishers
ISSN: 0952-1895
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/gove.12340
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