Fixing the Floating Gap. The Online Encyclopaedia Wikipedia as a Global Memory Place.
Pentzold, C. (2009). Fixing the Floating Gap. The Online Encyclopaedia Wikipedia as a Global Memory Place. Memory Studies, 2(2), 255-272. DOI: 10.1177/1750698008102055
The article proposes to interpret the web-based encyclopaedia Wikipedia as a global memory place. After presenting the core elements and basic characteristics of wikis and Wikipedia respectively, the article discusses four related issues of social memory studies: collective memory, communicative and cultural memory, memory places‘ and the floating gap‘. In a third step, these theoretical premises are connected to the understanding of discourse as social cognition. Fourth, comparison is made between the potential of the World Wide Web as cyberspace for collective remembrance and the obstacles that stand in its way. On this basis, the article argues that Wikipedia presents a global memory place where memorable elements are negotiated. Its complex processes of discussion and article creation are a model of the discursive fabrication of memory. Thus, they can be viewed and analysed as the transition, the `floating gap‘ between communicative and collective frames of memory.