Collective Memory and Digital Media Archives – University of Copenhagen

Collective Memory and Digital Media Archives

This sub-project explores new challenges which digital online archives brings into media historiography. From challenges encountered while conducting research on children’s television in 1970s’ Europe, I have found that media historians are confronted with a set of problems for their practices due to the substantial gap between the impact of digital media on popular memory and scholarly historiography about past media.

The purpose of this on-going historiographical project has been to present a range of possible responses to the challenge media historians face in the new digital age by suggesting new ways to study (and engage with) digital medias relation to social memory.

I examine prominent scholars of television history current understanding of digital archives as revolutionizing scholarly historiography and contrast it with findings that show how digital archives in themselves make little difference to scholarly media historiography. I then further investigate this lack of impact in relation to social memory, because it makes a sharp contrast to the digital media’s significant impact on collective mnemonic practices. A possible answer to the question of how media historians should respond to the challenges they face in the new digital age is looked for in the corporate, political and economical structures related to the digital universe that governs the its content. The reason for this particular focus is that these structures can be seen as setting the course for online digital processes that are active history-producing entities themselves.