Recent studies apply highly variable terminology in explaining the benefits of interventions using local memory websites. Our literature review systematizes this terminology into three, clearer levels of analysis that fit neatly into the empowerment framework: concepts on the micro level for individual benefits, on the meso level for group gains and on the macro level for community strengthening processes. On the macro level we distinguish three concepts: community memory, cultural citizenship and community capacity. With respect to all levels, the claims in the present literature tend to be based on offline data and seldom include an analysis of online participation.

This one-sidedness is due to an emphasis on institutional interventions that often unintentionally prevent online participation. Nevertheless, the literature presents the accessible and online nature of local memory websites as a key driving force of empowerment, especially on the meso and macro levels. To enrich the body of knowledge, we propose research on the actual composition of the field of local memory websites and on more autonomous initiatives.

, , , , ,
Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice
Department of Sociology

de Kreek, M., & van Zoonen, L. (2013). New directions in research about local memory websites. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice, 22(2), 113–130. Retrieved from