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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The virtual memory landscape: the impact of information technology on collective memory and commemoration in Southern Africa
Author:Marschall, Sabine
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 0305-7070)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:information technology
social media
Abstract:The article considers the impact of new digital technologies and the Internet on the process of commemorating the past and memorializing the dead in Southern Africa, with some comparative reference to the developed world context. The theoretical framework is inspired by Wulf Kansteiner's contention that collective memory is the result of the interaction between three overlapping elements - the media of memory, the makers and the consumers or users of memory. It is argued that Internet-based commemoration represents the third successive and concurrent phase in the culture of collective remembrance in Southern Africa, following pre-colonial indigenous or vernacular memory practices and colonial forms of 'institutionalized' memory sites. Web-based commemoration is represented as a potentially new form of vernacular memory practice which collapses Kansteiner's groups of makers and users of memory. Selected case studies, mostly from South Africa, are critically examined and their openness as a democratic space for negotiating the memory of the past is assessed. The article maintains that new technologies, although currently still in their infancy, are bound to have an increasingly profound influence on commemoration and the formation and transfer of collective memory in Southern Africa. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]