London bombing memories explored

Jul 07, 2011

Six years on from the devastating 7/7 London bombings and in the wake of the inquest into the attacks, a special issue of the journal Memory Studies, published by SAGE, explores new research into our collective memories of this tragic event.

"The London attacks make for a particularly compelling case study of contemporary remembrance and commemoration," say authors of the lead editorial, Matthew Allen and Annie Bryan. "Significantly, it would seem that a wider social project of remembering the bombings is at odds with the inquest's aim of providing an official, finalized historical account of 7/7."

The three-year UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded research project set out to pioneer the study of mass-mediated commemoration. Researchers analyzed both media coverage of the bombings, and personal memories of the events as part of the project, entitled Conflicts of Memory: Mediating and Commemorating the 2005 London Bombings.

Where commemoration results from , memorialization involves using the media as a memory aid. In-depth analysis of both immediately following the event and the coverage of commemorative events a year later revealed interesting shifts.

In the paper Dynamics of memory: Commemorating the 2005 London bombings in British television news, Nuria Lorenzo-Dus and Annie Bryan explore how images of the bombings as they unfolded shot on mobile phones spread rapidly around the globe, first via social media and then through more traditional media channels such as newspapers and television coverage. However the authors show that, despite this apparent breakthrough for , the re-asserted generic conventions for coverage a year later. The camera-phone images were then displaced from commemorative programming by the theme of commemoration itself, as media channels gave a high news value to personal accounts of the events and to the theme of trauma a year on.

Anna Reading discusses in the paper The London Bombings: Mobile Witnessing, Mortal Bodies and Globital time how mobile phones represent not just the ultimate in convergence of digital media technologies in the early part of the 21st century but also a personal and globally networked prosthetic to human memory. She compares media accounts of the 2005 bombing with a bombing of the London Underground in 1897 to explore the different time frames through which media technologies communicate, witness and commemorate public memory.

She argues that mobile and networked media appear to compress the time between the instant, the moment of the event and the instances, the repeatable moments in which that instant can be communicated. With mobile technologies images can be captured by witnesses and rapidly and widely circulated and reassembled across different connected , dynamically traversing the private and public memory in new ways. But time, she argues, is not only compressed, since the process of commemoration of the terrorist atrocity also has its own time (s) tied to dates such as anniversaries and to events such as the Coroner's inquest with the London bombings. While the rapidity of mobile witnessing was important at the time, it is the slower mediated narratives of survivors, witnesses and rescuers from the coroner's inquest that help us understand the scars that remain to the mortal body over time.

These two papers form part of a series of articles in this special issue of Memory Studies resulting from the research project which explores some of the debates generated by the London , illustrating the range of disciplines that can be brought to bear on the many issues and perspectives surrounding this event.

Explore further: Supporters of climate change science face self-doubt in study

More information: Further details of the project can be found at: www.newmediaecology.net/mediamemory/bombings/index.html

The London bombings: Mobile witnessing, mortal bodies and globital time by Anna Reading, London South Bank University, UK and University of Western Sydney, Australia and Dynamics of memory: Commemorating the 2005 London bombings in British television news by Nuria Lorenzo-Dus and Annie Bryan, Swansea University, UK, are published today, 7th July 2011, in Memory Studies.

The two papers discussed in this press release will be free to access for a limited time here: mss.sagepub.com/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Expert: Atomic bombings still part of political diplomacy

Jul 28, 2005

The next few weeks will be filled with differing opinions on how the United States should commemorate the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, and a Purdue University political communication expert can talk about ...

Disaster survivors sought for evacuation study

Oct 13, 2010

A British expert on human behaviour in major disasters has called for survivors, especially those of the 2005 London bombings, to come forward to help improve evacuation procedures.

Sony and SanDisk Develop "Memory Stick Micro"

Sep 30, 2005

SanDisk and Sony announced the development of the “Memory Stick Micro” format, an ultra-small IC recording media designed to meet the growing storage needs of highly compact, multifunctional mobile phones. Licensing for ...

Sony Announces 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo

Feb 27, 2006

Don't let the size of Sony's 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media card fool you. This product has the largest storage capacity of any Memory Stick flash media card on the market.

Recommended for you

Male-biased tweeting

9 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

11 hours ago

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

COCO
1 / 5 (1) Jul 08, 2011
perhaps a more compelling and revealing study would investigate the simultaneous terror scenario exercise being held that day with the same targets and tactics - maybe we need to consider the odds of that - echoing the same NORAD simuluation of highjacked airliners on 911. How about those odds bookies?

More news stories

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

When the economy hits the skids, government stimulus checks to the poor sometimes follow. Stimulus programs—such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009—are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash ...

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.

Math modeling handbook now available

Math comes in handy for answering questions about a variety of topics, from calculating the cost-effectiveness of fuel sources and determining the best regions to build high-speed rail to predicting the spread ...