chapter  2
26 Pages

SOCIALLY DISTRIBUTED CURATION OF THE BHOPAL DISASTER: A case of grassroots heritage in the crisis context

This chapter offers an interpretation of how a sense of heritage is shaped through socially distributed curatorial practices emerging from social media use in the crisis domain. Major crises and disasters – natural, technological and human-induced hazards – are shared phenomena that have a societal impact, and tend to be viewed as historic events worth remembering. Although crises typically conjure up thoughts of danger and difficulty, they also provide opportunities to learn how to cope with, recover from and adapt to adverse and unexpected situations that can strengthen community resilience to future disasters. In the digital age, members of the public increasingly document, share and make sense of memories and stories about crises through social media. Methods for curating and communicating the heritage that are emerging from contemporary social practices of collective remembering need to be re-evaluated in light of the new ‘technologies of memory’ (Van House and Churchill 2008) that we are using in today’s society. This chapter brings heritage and crisis events together with the new phenomenon of social media to investigate the emergent socio-technical practices that lie at the convergence of these three domains – a largely uncharted territory.