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About the Project

In the Introduction to the essays in two thematic issues of Archival Science on Archives, Records and Power (2002) the editors Schwartz and Cook advance a working definition of “archive” as a social construct intimately tied to the “information needs” of large organizations like governments, universities, libraries, corporations, and agencies that serves to categorize what will be remembered and what will be ignored, covered up, or forbidden.

This project is an experimental venture that attempts to determine the degree to which corporations alter the state of collective memory surrounding three social justice movements: #blacklivesmatter, #blackouttuesday, and #stopasianhate.

The collection of commercially mediated social justice hashtags from 2020-2021 that we examined, was selected from corporations that used these hashtags in posts published on corporate social media accounts.  A “sample archive” of posts  that the selected corporations exhibited is the basis for the content analyzed. 

The posts, as well as recent comments, are provided along with a survey section that allows users’ input to formulate the central inquiry: does corporate media social justice help or hinder the memory of social justice movements?

The posts are categorized according to the social movement they represent and the social media platform from which they’re derived.

A progression from corporate social responsibility to corporate social justice movements may thereby show how “corporatization” of social justice affects memory surrounding socio-cultural movements. 

“In cultural formation, a collective experience crystallizes, whose meaning, when touched upon, may suddenly become accessible again across the millennia. Halbwachs  thematizes  the  nexus  between  mem-ory  and  group,  [while] Warburg  the  one  between  memory  and  the  language  of cultural   forms.   

Our  theory   of  cultural  memory   attempts   to  relate   all three  poles – memory  (the  contemporized  past),  culture,  and  the  group (society)  – to  each  other.”

from Collective Memory and Cultural Identity 

(text originally published  in Kultur und Gediichtnis, eds.  Jan Assmann and Tonio Holscher  (Frankfurt/Main:  Suhrkamp,  1988)

“The strongest and most striking studies in cul-tural memory are based on interdisciplinary exchange -– between media studies and cultural history (J. Assmann; A. Assmann).

from Towards a Conceptual Foundation for Cultural Memory Studies

(A. Erll & A. Nünning, Media and cultural memory , Walter de Gruyter.)

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