In digital remembrance: Vernacular memory and the rhetorical construction of web memorials

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84 Scopus citations


In this study, I examine four web memorials to explore the material construction of memory on the internet. Using Blair's arguments about the rhetorical materiality of memorials, I seek to understand the vernacular responses to 9/11 in the form of individually crafted web memorials. I argue that vernacular web memorials contain dual rhetorical functions of being memorials themselves as well as the tributary markers found at other national monuments. Additionally, webmastered memorials highlight the vernacular strategies of narrative memory, which recall the individual responses and calls to action after 9/11. The internet both fosters the use of vernacular commemoration and hampers it through the use of commercially registered domain names. First, web memorials assist in the creation of vernacular commemorative communities in the form of web-rings. Second, however, the durability of the digital monuments is challenged by the very form they take due to their potentially ephemeral nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)812-830
Number of pages19
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Commemoration
  • Materiality
  • Public memory
  • Rhetoric
  • September 11
  • Web memorials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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