Who Owns the Middle Ages? Participatory Medievalism and Structural Exclusion

Elliott, Andrew (2022) Who Owns the Middle Ages? Participatory Medievalism and Structural Exclusion. In: Medievalism in Finland and Russia Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Aspects. Bloomsbury, New York and London. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Who Owns the Middle Ages? Participatory Medievalism and Structural Exclusion
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Abstract

The recent study of political and online medievalism has placed a range of new ideas under scrutiny about the ways in which the Middle Ages (in particular) and history (as a whole) can be used outside of scholarship as powerful modes of supporting almost any given ideology. Perhaps the most powerful tool in all of this has been the rise of so-called Web 2.0 technologies, which aggregate User-Generated Content into public and social media sites. Early apologists for Web 2.0 argued that these are democratising and revolutionary technologies, which allow for an increasingly fluid and demotic mode of participatory culture. Closer scrutiny, however, suggests otherwise, noting that the structural inequalities of the internet merely replicate—or even amplify—the structural inequalities of the offline world.
This chapter explores three case studies of historical appropriations, which seemingly demonstrate a kind of ‘participatory medievalism’ but which, I argue, offer indications of the limits of democratic participation. In each case I analyse what happens to historical authority in those instances where users are invited to decode medievalism? In an online environment in which a blog post can rank higher than a journal article on Google, I ask, who owns the medieval past?

Keywords:Medievalism, participatory media, internet studies, Finland, Russia, Historiography
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V225 Russian History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
ID Code:49005
Deposited On:27 Apr 2022 11:12

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