Activating the past in the Ferguson protests: Memory work, digital activism and the politics of platforms

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    Abstract

    This article analyzes the Facebook page Justice for Mike Brownset up during the 2014 Ferguson protestsin order to rethink the role of memory work within contemporary digital activism. We argue that, as a particular type of discursive practice, memory work on the page bridged personal and collective action frames. This occurred in four overlapping ways. First, the page allowed for affective commemorative engagement that helped shape Brown's public image. Second, Brown's death was contextualized as part of systematic injustice against African Americans. Third, the past was used to legitimize present action, wherein the present was continually connected to the past and future. And fourth, particular discursive units became recognizable symbolic markers during the protests and for future recall. Based on this typology, we show that memory work, although multidirectional and in flux, is stabilized by the interactions between the page administrator, users, and Facebook's operational logic.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3119-3139
    Number of pages21
    JournalNew media & society
    Volume20
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep-2018

    Keywords

    • Connective memory
    • critical discourse analysis
    • digital activism
    • Facebook
    • Ferguson protests
    • interpretative repertoires
    • media memory
    • memory work
    • Michael Brown
    • police violence
    • SOCIAL MEDIA
    • FACEBOOK
    • TRAJECTORIES
    • MEMES
    • PAGES

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