Communicative Practices of Transnational Memory in Online Forums

conducted by: Anastasia Pupynina


Which role does nation play in the negotiation of memory on the Internet? Can we observe a transnationalisation of memory or do national discourses continue online using more modern channels of communication? The project „Transnational Memory Practices“ combines sociological online research methods and approaches from memory and reception studies with the debate about the position of new media in society.
The channels of information exchange currently undergo dramatic changes. The academic discourse about communication on the internet results in two different interpretations of group dynamics in virtual space. The first one constructs the Internet as the central medium of the globalization epoch that sets pluralistic mechanisms in motion. It presents a platform where actors with different opinions are able to confront each other, challenging social and geographic distance. Some researchers even speak of synchronization of positions as an outcome from these confrontations.
The second interpretation stresses the fact that actors with similar positions tend to find one another more easily and construct closed empowering communicative spaces online, in which one certain thinking pattern is clearly dominating others. This was not possible in real-time before new media due to i.a. geographical distance. In case these groups are based on a certain interpretation of historical events, one speaks of „homogeneous memory communities“, which often acquire nationalistic features.
The difference in these two interpretations reveals that the internet is providing the necessary condition for the emergence of transnational memory, without being clear yet how these possibilities are being made use of. Contrary to the frequent criticism aimed at the fact that memory studies are mostly applied on narratives of nation-states, the current research project tries to assess the potential role of the internet in the transnationalisation of memory discourses about World War II researching the dynamics of national identity on historical communicative platforms.
Currently research is being conducted on the three most visited english speaking forums dedicated to World War II:, and With the help oft the Konstanz Information Miner (KNIME) the texts are being extracted and analyzed using text mining as well as qualitative methods. The analysis is aimed at determining the performance of national identity online in discussions dedicated to memory.