media, information, the contemporary

Social Media: Contemporary Histories and Archaeologies

This project explores the remarkable transformation signalled by social media in the contemporary era. We are interested in new circuits of social communication, cultural consumption and sharing, transparency discourses and political mobilisation. Such contemporary changes will be situated in a complex history mapping the social basis and circuits of older and more recent media, including film and sound media, the emergence of audio and video-cassettes in the 1980s, and the development of a powerful scrambling and interlacing of media technologies, formats and publics across different platforms and devices with the proliferation of digital forms in the 1990s.

This research initiative supported a number of short-term research projects, which took inspiration from the pioneering Sarai Independent Fellowship programme that initiated and supported a host of individual researchers working on contemporary culture. Like the Sarai Independent Fellowship programme, the social media project mobilized collaborative models of research in which selected researchers interacted both with Sarai’s in-house research group and a larger community, and deposited their materials in the Sarai archive for public access and use.

Events and publications related to this project