Heritage and Social Media

Understanding heritage in a participatory culture

by Elisa Giaccardi

Heritage and Social Media explores how social media reframes our understanding and experience of heritage. Through the idea of ‘participatory culture’ the book begins to examine how social media can be brought to bear on the encounter with heritage and on the socially produced meanings and values that individuals and communities ascribe to it.

To highlight the specific changes produced by social media, the book is structured around three major themes: 

  • Social Practice. New ways of understanding and experiencing heritage are emerging as a result of novel social practices of collection, representation, and communication enabled and promoted by social media.
  • Public Formation. In the presence of widely available social technologies, peer-to-peer activities such as information and media sharing are rapidly gaining momentum, as they increasingly promote and legitimate a participatory culture in which individuals aggregate on the basis of common interests and affinities.
  • Sense of Place. As computing becomes more pervasive and digital networks extend our surroundings, social media and technologies support new ways to engage with the people, interpretations and values that pertain to a specific territorial setting.

Heritage and Social Media provides readers with a critical framework to understand how the participatory culture fostered by social media changes the way in which we experience and think of heritage. By introducing readers to how social media are theorized and used, particularly outside the institutional domain, the volume reveals through groundbreaking case studies the emerging heritage practices unique to social media. In doing so, the book unveils the new issues that are emerging from these practices and the new space for debate and critical argumentation that is required to illuminate what can be done in this burgeoning sector of heritage work.

  • Taylor and Francis; July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781136284885
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Heritage and Social Media
  • Author: Elisa Giaccardi (ed.)
  • Imprint: Routledge

In The Press

Heritage and Social Media is an important book, which advances the digital heritage literature beyond the methodological discussions of how to archive the past—a theme that has tended to dominate this genre… Debate and research in both museum and heritage studies are moving past essentialist ideas that heritage can be equated simply to objects and sites…This book belongs within the context of this developing critical debate… [and] can cast new analytical light on the nature, practices, and consequences of heritagemaking.” - Laurajane Smith, Australian National University

“With Heritage and Social Media: Understanding Heritage in a Participatory Culture Elisa Giaccardi has produced an edited volume that contributes to the existing body of studies concerned with museum and heritage sites…The strength of this book is…the excellent… case studies the various authors draw on in their analysis of the impact of social media on heritage production and management…the issues discussed in this book are of relevance to a range of modern institutions and organisation that see themselves confronted with stakeholders whose social media activities challenge positions of authority and control that defined prior times.” - Dirk vom Lehn, King’s College London

About The Author

Elisa Giaccardi is Chair of Interactive Media Design at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. She works at the intersection of interaction design and social media, with an active interest in living heritage practices. Her contributions to this subject comprise research and design work on collective memories, affective geographies, and emerging curatorial practices.