Witnessing in the New Memory Ecology: Memory Construction of the Syrian Conflict on YouTube

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    Abstract

    With the pervasiveness of mobile technologies, witnesses have the opportunity to mediate up-close and seemingly truthful recordings of events. As such, “witness videos” have become prominent in news reports and serve as authoritative resources in the construction of memory. However, once they are uploaded to video-sharing sites and popular archives such as YouTube, they are being reassembled and remixed by distinct actors, along the lines of their own ideological agendas. Focusing on the chemical attack on Ghouta, Syria, this article investigates how witness videos are represented by uploaders (ranging from established media to activists) and structured by the affordances and sociotechnical practices associated with the platform. Hence, we argue, although the future memory of the attack is constituted by witness videos, it is powerfully shaped by various actors, both human and nonhuman. These mechanisms of memory construction are empirically explored by qualitative and quantitative analyses of meta-data and (remixed) content.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)289-307
    Number of pages19
    JournalNew media & society
    Volume19
    Issue number2
    Early online date21-Sep-2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Keywords

    • Algorithm
    • Archive
    • Content Analysis
    • CURATION
    • MEMORY
    • Syria
    • tagging
    • User-Generated Content
    • witnessing
    • YouTube

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