Remembering in Later Life: Generating Individual and Social Change

Joanna Bornat

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

 Remembering in Later Life: Generating Individual and Social Change

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Both oral history and what has come to be known as “reminiscence work” acquired a public profile around the same time, during the 1970s and early 1980s, in Europe and North America. This article focuses on the importance of remembrance in later life. For oral history, remembering is seen as a means to an end. By contrast, reminiscence work fixes on the process, the social interactions and changes brought about by engaging in remembering. Reminiscence work continues to be discovered and applied by practitioners and researchers without much awareness of its history and origins. A case study from the United Kingdom serves as an example. Remembrance helps in generating individual and social change which comes along gradually. The search for an evidence base for interventions has costs attached. All of this has tended to take over the nature of evaluations and outcomes of reminiscence and life review.

Keywords: oral history; reminiscence work; social interaction; remembering

Article.  8122 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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