Struggling to Remember: Perceptions, Potentials and Power in an Age of Mediatised Memory

PhD Thesis

Bamber, J. 2019. Struggling to Remember: Perceptions, Potentials and Power in an Age of Mediatised Memory. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Creative Industries
AuthorsBamber, J.
TypePhD Thesis

What role do new, networked and pervasive technologies play in changing individual and collective memory processes? Many recent debates have focused on whether we are in the online era remembering ‘less’ or ‘more’ – informed, perhaps, by a tendency to think of memory spatially and quantifiably as working like an archive. Drawing on the philosophical theorising of Henri Bergson and its development through Gilbert Simondon, this thesis makes two interventions into the field. Firstly, conceptually, it establishes a process-based approach to perception, memory and consciousness in a shift
away from the archive metaphor – thinking memory not as informing ‘knowledge of the past’ but ‘action in duration’. It situates the conscious, living being as transindividual – affectively relational to its perceived bodily and social environments, through psychic and collective individuation respectively. Moreover, it considers technologies as forms of transindividual extension of consciousness. Furthermore, it proposes the ‘antimetaphor’ of the anarchive as a conceptual tool with which to understand these durationbased, bodily and technological, action-oriented processes. Secondly, methodologically, it advocates a rephrasing of the question from how much we are remembering to how we are remembering differently. Armed now with a developed theoretical position and methodological approach, the thesis explores through three case-study chapters how personal and more historical pasts may be remembered, individually and more collectively, through new, prevalent technologies of memory such as search engines, forums and social-media sites. Analysing the material experiences of remembering, as well as examining the economic drives of the platforms and wider actors, and the resulting socio-political implications, the thesis sets out the original argument of a contemporary struggle for memory: a complex negotiation of tensions between agencies of the body, the social, and the multifarious and interconnected socio-political and economic interests of the technological platforms and hybridised media systems through which contemporary remembering increasingly takes place.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
OnlineSep 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2020
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