This article analyzes two documentary tasks, planning for the future and preserving the past, within and across multiple domains in everyday life. Data come from interviews with forty-seven Canadian participants and photographs of their tools and documents. Both tasks support multiple everyday life domains (e.g., family, work, community), their associated social roles (e.g., father, employee, volunteer), and functional roles that transcend domains and their associated communities (e.g., maintainer—of a car, of one’s health, or of a social or family relationship). Planning for the future supports documenting what to do and when, where, and how to do it, but also how to be and how to be in relationship with others. Preserving the past supports documenting accountable truths and commemorating a meaningful past. It involves both recording past events and archiving and curating objects of documentary significance. Taking a sociocultural approach to the analysis of tasks reveals three themes about everyday life as a context for documentary practices: everyday life is not unitary, different domains reflect different conditions and communities, and past- and future-focused tasks are not clearly demarcated.


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pp. 492-519
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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