Perpetual Archivists: Grassroots Conservation in a Digital Age

Alexandra Kapka

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper considers the social and philosophical – specifically the ethico-legal – dimensions of the peer-to-peer file-sharing network as archive in flux.
Archiving is a process traditionally undertaken by gatekeepers and power brokers who preserve elite-selected items for the future. However, in the age of decentralised, digital democracy, consumers become curators and select their own artefacts for conservation. Contrary to traditional notions of archival engagement, peer-to-peer file-sharing disrupts and subverts hierarchical processes and provides fresh insight into the preferences of digital users. The horizontal and continuous act of exchanging files can be seen as an egalitarian, bottom- up form of citizen-led archiving.
In order to demonstrate the above, an ethnographic case study will be utilised, alongside thick description and further supported by discourse analysis. A focus on popular cinema, specifically horror, will provide evidence for the overarching argument of the paper, which is that new technologies are inviting democratic forms of disruption, selection and preservation. Rather than seek to counter these behaviours, researchers should welcome them as they lend deeper insight into audience behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2015
EventThe NECS 2015 Conference: Archives of/for the Future - University of Łódź, Łódź, Poland
Duration: 18 Jun 201520 Jun 2015


ConferenceThe NECS 2015 Conference


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