Utskrift från Malmö universitets webbplats www.mah.se

History online. On the production of historical knowledge in digital communities

Contact person: Robin Ekelund
Responsible: Robin Ekelund
Funding: Crafoordska stiftelsen
Timeframe: 2019-02-01 -- 2021-01-31
Faculty/Department: Faculty of Education and Society, Individual and Society

This postdoc-project explores people’s use of history and their attitudes towards historical knowledge in digital communities. Thus, it contributes to an ongoing international debate on the role of knowledge and history in a digitalized society. Historians have previously been studying history in the digital domain from an interest in how historians themselves can deal with the “big data” provided by the Internet. This project instead uses a “history from below”-perspective and focuses on the ways in which historical knowledge is produced online by a history-interested public. Every day individuals use the Internet not only to search for facts about the past, but also to produce their own historical knowledge. They discuss topics ranging from national and local history, specific historical periods, wars and political history as well as clothes, styles and artefacts from the past.

The project uses Actor-Network-Theory as its theoretical starting point. Thus, the project analyses how historical knowledge is produced through networks of actors from the standpoint that knowledge is situated and processual. A specific focus is directed on how interpretative prerogatives are established in this digital context. To explore the production of historical knowledge a netnographical method is used. This implies that the data to used is produced by the members of digital communities themselves.

The purpose of the project is to investigate the production of historical knowledge in digital communities created by a history-interested public. The main research questions are:

– What kind of historical knowledge is produced in digital communities created by a history-interested public?

– How is historical knowledge produced, discussed and established in these digital communities?

 With its focus on the production of historical knowledge in digital communities the project connects to an ongoing debate on the role of knowledge and history in contemporary society. Hereby it aims to contribute to complex discussions on how the digital revolution affects society, with regards to both individual, cultural and political processes. Furthermore, it will contribute to the research fields studying uses of the past and digital memory by developing new methodological insights as well as analytical results.

Beskrivning på svenska

Postdoc-projektet Historia på nätet undersöker hur historisk kunskap produceras av en historieintresserad allmänhet i historiskt intresserade Facebookgrupper. Projektet har två frågor som sin utgångspunkt: (1) Vilken typ av historisk kunskap produceras av en historieintresserad allmänhet på nätet? (2) Hur produceras, etableras och diskuteras kunskap i dessa digitala sammanhang?

Projektet använder en netnografisk metod för att studera det material en historieintresserad allmänhet själv producerat i Facebookgrupper. Dessa grupper fokuserar på olika typer av populär historia, såsom lokalhistoria, historiska perioder eller historiska stilar, kläder och föremål. Med ett ”historia underifrån”-perspektiv utforskar projektet hur historisk kunskap produceras såväl i förhållande till makrohistoriska händelser och processer som till personliga minnen och berättelser. Härmed fördjupar projektet vår förståelse av historiens och kunskapens roll i det nutida digitaliserade samhället.

Senast uppdaterad av Catarina Christiansson