Can Memory Be Collective?

Anna Green

in The Oxford Handbook of Oral History

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195339550
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199940578 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Can Memory Be Collective?

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This article explains the collectivity of memory. Memory, in all its guises, has been at the heart of historical inquiry over the past three decades. Cultural and social historians, sociologists, social psychologists, and those working in cultural studies and literary criticism have generated a significant body of work exploring both individual autobiographical memory and collective, public memory. Interest in the subject of collective remembrance, initially focusing upon the social and cultural forms through which the violent and repressive history of the twentieth century were recalled and commemorated, has developed over time into a broader, interdisciplinary field focusing upon memory. The term “memory” has now expanded to encompass all these forms of historical consciousness, a development that has received a less-than-enthusiastic response from those historians who define conventional history by its goals of objectivity and truth, as opposed to the subjectivity and partiality of memory. Discussion on personal and collective memory and social identities conclude this article.

Keywords: collective memory; historical inquiry; cultural historians; social historians; historical consciousness

Article.  7154 words. 

Subjects: Oral History

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