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Title: 'You have a new memory' : mediated memories in the age of algorithms
Author: Jacobsen, Benjamin
ISNI:       0000 0005 0287 6687
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis explores the intersections of algorithmic systems and memory-making practices in everyday life, broadly asking what it means to remember with algorithms. The project investigates these intersections from various perspectives, drawing upon data from 26 interviews and four focus groups along with a documentary analysis of the technologies themselves. Chapter four investigates what I call ‘algorithmic remembrance technologies,’ that is, the platforms, apps, and features that mediate people’s data past. Here, I examine their commercial rhetoric as well as their technical affordances and salient characteristics. In chapter five, the focus shifts to users and how people variously use and negotiate these technologies in everyday life. Drawing on interview and focus group data, the chapter argues that both people and algorithms participate in sociotechnical processes of ‘emplotment’, whereby mediated memories are used to weave stories of the self in the present. Chapter six also draws on interview and focus group data, and it examines how algorithmic systems affect and shape people’s remembrance of the past. More specifically, it focuses on questions of temporality and timing in relation to automated systems, asking when algorithms come to matter in everyday life. Finally, the thesis conclusion seeks to bring all these different analytical threads together into one conceptual framework. It ultimately argues that the intersections of algorithms and memory in everyday life suggests what I call a shift from ‘remembering to resurfacing’ as well as highlighting the processes that underlie and propel this shift. I argue that this shift is underpinned, firstly, by the eventfulness of algorithms, that is, the diverse encounters, intersections, and crossings between people, socialities, and algorithmic systems in memory making; and secondly, the positioning of users, signifying the ways in which users increasingly place themselves in the way of algorithmic systems in order to be reminded and affected.
Supervisor: Beer, David ; Martin, Daryl Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available