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: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

More information: Further details of the project can be found at:

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:

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

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...