Critical Perspectives on Heritage from Below
Edited by Hamzah Muzaini and Claudio Minca
Chapter 5: Death camp heritage ‘from below’? Instagram and the (re)mediation of Holocaust heritage
The sites of former Nazi death camps have become established as important places of European heritage. While previous research has revealed how the experiences of visitors to these sites are powerfully mediated and scripted by museum authorities, recent work has demonstrated the capacity of visitor photography to facilitate a more active encounter with sites of Holocaust heritage. This chapter extends the analysis of visitor photography at former death camp sites by turning to the ‘participatory culture’ of digital media, through which such images are shared and recontextualized. Focusing on the photograph-sharing platform Instagram, the chapter critically examines both the photographic practices of visitors and the digital mediations that exceed the agency of individual users. The author argue that the capacity of social media to host unexpected juxtapositions of photographic context exceeds any simple binary of heritage from above or below, resulting in an ambivalent ‘democratization’ of heritage.
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