MEDIATED MEORIES. JOSÉ VAND DIJCK

In her thought-provoking new book, José van Dijck has undertaken a formidable task. Unlike most theorists of memory, who work either with cognitive or with cultural models, she argues that to understand memory in the digital age requires an approach with draws from both neuroscientific and cultural research. In the first chapter she lays out her approach, which she distinguishes from Marita Sturken’s and my own; instead of considering the ways in which cultural memories affect the individual, Dijck’s analysis moves in the other direction “privileging private memory objects.” And while she admits, following Maurice Halbwachs, that “personal memory can only exist in relation to collective memory,” she insists on the primacy of the personal: “The sum of individual memories never equals collectivity” (25). For Dijck, memories might be technologically mediated, but are still profoundly personal. And yet, rather than assuming that something like “pure” or “authentic” memory exists and is then mediated by technologies of memory, she imagines a dialectical relationship where “media and memory transform each other” (21). And to get at this dynamic relationship she has coined the phrase “mediated memories,” which she defines as “the activities and objects we produce and appropriate by means of media technology for creating and re-creating a sense of past, present, and future of ourselves in relation to others” (21). While these memories are personal, they are nevertheless instrumental in translating ourselves to others. Dijck, in other words, is interested in the way in which autobiographical memory both shapes and is shaped by technology. In this book she attempts to reject a simple technological determinism, advocating instead a model which recognizes the interpenetration of cognitive structures and technological developments. (…)

https://mnenotech.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/presentation-mediated-memories-in-the-digital-age.pdf