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Mediated Memories in the Digital Age (Cultural Memory in the Present) [Paperback]

Jose van Dijck
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

15 Aug 2007 Cultural Memory in the Present
Many people deploy photo media tools to document everyday events and rituals. For generations, we have stored memories in albums, diaries, and shoeboxes to retrieve at a later moment in life. Autobiographical memory, its tools, and its objects are pressing concerns in most people's everyday lives, and recent digital transformation cause many to reflect on the value and meaning of their own "mediated memories." Digital photo cameras, camcorders, and multimedia computers are rapidly replacing analogue equipment, inevitably changing our everyday routines and conventional forms of recollection. How will digital photographs, lifelogs, photoblogs, webcams, or playlists change our personal remembrance of things past? And how will they affect our cultural memory? The main focus of this study is the ways in which (old and new) media technologies shape acts of memory and individual remembrances. This book spotlights familiar objects but addresses the larger issues of how technology penetrates our intimate routines and emotive processes, how it affects the relationship between private and public, memory and experience, self and others.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (15 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804756244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804756242
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 436,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Jose van Dijck performs a sophisticated analysis that blends neurological research on memory, media technologies, and the "personal cultural" construction of memories into a coherent, far-reaching theory of the function, role, and significance of memory as we move from analogue to digital representations. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in memory, digital technologies, and their co-evolution." - N. Katherine Hayles, University of California, Los Angeles"

About the Author

Jose van Dijck is Professor of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is the author of several books, including Manufacturing Babies and Public Consent: Debating the New Reproductive Technologies (1995) and ImagEnation: Popular Images of Genetics (1998). Her latest book is titled The Transparent Body. A Cultural Analysis of Medical Imaging (2005).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 3 Dec 2011
I have been reading this book while writing my dissertation on Collective Memory and New Digital Media and how they relate to the built (mainly urban) environment. It is very useful to learn some of the basic regarding Collective Memory and quite creative regarding the way the latter is associated with contemporary digital media and their practices. Strongly recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I recommend the book 7 Dec 2013
By chaim noy - Published on
I enjoyed reading the book, and as the previous reviewer noted, van Dijk certainly did her homework. The topic is of interest for me because, generally, it aims at brining technologies and the material sphere unto issues that are usually labelled abstract or psyche-something - like personal memories. Also, I have written about medium theory and wanted to see the transition the author discusses from analog media (specifically visual media or photos) to digital ones. So in all these respects it's interesting and clearly written and I will use one of its chapters as one of the introductory pieces for my Media and Material Culture class. My own interests and preferences are a. more critical (neoliberal, commercialization and control of images and their production, copyright and distribution), 2. More on public issues and the public sphere, and less of an emphasis on autobiographical and personal memory. Although I know that these are overlapping - if not indistinguishable – and I guess that this is the point I am trying to make. 3. finally, and as part of a more critical rendering, I’m interested in gender and what van Dijk has to say about this. Where there is a discussion of ‘family’ and of ‘autobiographical’ images, it seems to me to always ask for suspicious about gender and visual rights and restrictions pertaining to women.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How technology is changing memory 3 April 2009
By Trevor Burnham - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
José van Dijck raises interesting questions in this book: How are digital artifacts different from physical ones? What does the advent of zero-cost memorabilia mean for how we construct our identities? How will this technological transition affect our culture and our sense of history?

These are good questions to reflect on, but this book gives us few answers. There are some enjoyable (and potentially illuminating) stories in here; my favorite is of the radio station in The Netherlands plays "the two thousand most popular songs of all times" (the subject of Ch. 4). Unfortunately, these stories are interspersed with unparseable sentences such as "In conjunction to the technological script, we hence need to look at how social practices and cultural forms transpire through the concrete manifestations of diary writings and lifelogs" (p.67) and "The pair brain/mind is hierarchically off set from the pairs technology/materiality and cultural practices/forms; the latter two are mere conceptual aids in the neurobiological theory of movies-in-the-brain" (p. 125).

Clearly, van Dijck has done her homework. But can any amount of social theory shed light on such broad questions? After reading this book, I don't feel like I've gained any new insight beyond the traditional mantra of the humanities: It's complicated.
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