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Digitization and materiality: researching community memory practice today

MacDonald, Richard L. and Couldry, Nick and Dickens, Luke (2015) Digitization and materiality: researching community memory practice today. Sociological Review, 63 (1). pp. 102-120. ISSN 0038-0261

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-954X.12215

Abstract

Among the most deep-seated anxieties of the Internet age is the fear of technologically produced forgetting. Technology critics and sociologists of memory alike argue that daily exposure to overwhelming flows of information is undermining our ability to connect and synthesise past and present. Acknowledging the salience of these concerns our approach seeks to understand the contemporary conditions of collective memory practice in relation to processes of digitisation. We do so by developing an analysis of how digital technologies (image and audio capture, storage, editing, reproduction, distribution and exhibition) have become embedded in wider memory practices of storytelling and commemoration in a community setting: the Salford Lads Club, an organization in the north of England in continuous operation since 1903. The diverse memory practices prompted by the one hundredth anniversary of the Club’s annual camp provide a context in which to explore the transformations of access, interpretation and use, that occur when the archives of civic organisations are digitised. Returning to Halbwach’s (1992) seminal insight that all collective memory requires a material social framework, we argue, contrary to prevailing characterizations of digitisation, that under specific conditions, digital resources facilitate new forms of materialization that contribute to sustaining a civic organisation’s intergenerational continuity.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(IS...
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author. The Sociological Review © 2014 The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2014 13:06
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2017 09:35
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/57920

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