The research in this dissertation explores the social significance of local memory websites. Local memory websites offer local residents a platform where they collect and share memories about particular places or experiences in their neighbourhoods and districts. Following a systematic review and a broad field study, a narrative approach is developed to study collective levels of empowerment within the ‘Memory of East’ and the ‘Memory of West’, both in Amsterdam.
Two empirical questions steer a double case study:
1) ‘How does the organizational development influence the online dynamics?’ and
2) ‘What collective empowerment do the online dynamics express?’

With its stronger social capital, the Memory of East is more likely to resist official memory intuitions, commercial popular culture and local politics than the Memory of West. On the other hand, with its more inclusive character, the Memory of West is more representative for the broad cultural backgrounds of its inhabitants than the Memory of East. These findings are shown to be related to five organizational continuums on which both websites are plotted to indicate their crucial organizational differences. Apart from a claim about the theoretical value of this model, it is illustrated how it functions as a discursive tool for the core groups behind both websites.

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E.A. van Zoonen (Liesbet) , S.L. Reijnders (Stijn)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
This study was conducted as part of the research program ‘Cultural and Social Dynamics’ at the Amsterdam Research Institute of Societal Innovation in the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. It was financially supported by both the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

de Kreek, M. (2017, January 26). Collective Empowerment through Local Memory Websites : balancing between group interest and common good. Retrieved from