Maurizio Ferraris' Theory of Documentality and Social Media: Media Hacking as Hacking of Cultural Memory
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Memory Studies Memory Digital Studies Cultural Memory Historical Memory Communicative Memory the Great Gap Digital Memory Documentary Theory Social Media Media Hacking

How to Cite

Tikhonova, S. (2022). Maurizio Ferraris’ Theory of Documentality and Social Media: Media Hacking as Hacking of Cultural Memory. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 4(2), 84-101.


The article deals with the methodological search for overcoming dualism in the understanding of cultural memory as a basic category of memory studies. This category implies a gap between the memory of living contemporaries and the "dead" memory of institutional narratives. However, the rebellion of living memory against repressive censored texts is a feature of mass industrial societies. The model of confrontation between generational memory and trans-generational memory, laid down by the works of M. Halbwachs and J. Assmann, loses its heuristic in the conditions of the dominance of digital media. The author suggests using the social ontology of M. Ferraris, known as the “theory of documentality”, to overcome this gap. The interpretation of sociogenesis as a result of the formation of social objects based on the recording procedure allows us to rethink the social function of the media. Cultural memory in the theory of Ferraris is equivalent to an array of documentary, differentiated by the ability to generate and maintain social objects into strong and weak. This approach turns out to be productive where the “great gaps” of communication have been overcome, where the social communication system provides wide access to all its types. Social media provides new memory formats by incorporating people and non-human algorithms into its networks. Creation of social memory objects no longer requires specialized institutions; “old”, pre-digital narratives of historical memory are hacked by users in media hacking processes, allowing them to appropriate, edit and inhabit the history of society in personal digital memory strategies. At the same time, the digital nature of new social objects ensures their involvement with each other through social network algorithms, regardless of their own ethical, aesthetic or axiological status.
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