Pappersarbete : Formandet av och föreställningar om kontorspapper som medium

Detta är en avhandling från Mediehistoriskt arkiv

Sammanfattning: This thesis explores office paper as a medium between 1920 and 1960 in Sweden. During this period, paper was muchdebated due to the number of standards that were implemented. These standardstransformed paper, making it a modern medium in many different ways. The aim ofthe present thesis is to analyze how office paper was reshaped to solveproblems regarding production, reproduction, circulation and use ofinformation. This reshaping, through a series of standards, addressed issuessuch as order, speed, quantity and control of information in the officematerial information system, and was also seen as a way of altering officepractices. The study draws on a wide range of source materials concerning the standardizationof paper: reports, articles from newspapers and journals, standard documents,ads, manuals and handbooks. Theoretically, the thesis applies a materialperspective on communication and mediation, meaning that focus is on howinformation is processed, rather than on the content being circulated.Following this perspective the office is understood as an information system,and paper as an information technology. A crucial methodological claim is thatthe ideas and notions of paper, and paperwork, that various actors expressedwhile discussing standards, materialized in changed paper sizes andstandardized forms. The analysis shows how the paperformat created from the proportion of the page as 1:√2 was associated to aspecific idea of scientific rationality. This rationality was imagined to betransmitted to the information system through adjusting office machines andfurniture, and other paper technologies, to the width and breadth of theA4-format. Another consequence of this process was that paper based informationbecame a quantifiable entity. Following the fixation of paper sizes was theredesigning the graphic interfaces of forms, which resulted in the “the modernform”. The 1940s also saw the emergence of a new occupation, the “form man”; ascience of forms; and the idea of the system of forms, to rationalize paperbased communication.