Last of the Summer Wine (BBC, 1973–2010) was filmed in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, UK, for 37 years. Consequently, it has affected collective memories of the space and place of the region. Summer Wine has become embedded into the area and exists as part of everyday communicative memory in which fictional representations, oral histories, embodied practices, sensory engagements and lived experiences collide. In examining Summer Wine’s continued presence in Holmfirth even after it has ceased production, we investigate how the series as a text, institution and brand serves to spatially inform Holmfirth and construct, embed and inform cultural memory.
Consistent with memory studies’ emphasis on the tight relationship between memory and identity, this article regards nation-building as an ongoing social process of nation-remembering. Taking the official Chinese nationalism in Taiwan from 1949 through 1987 as the case, this study aims to demonstrate the significant role that commemorative narratives play in nation-remembering. Facing extraordinary difficulties, the master commemorative narrative of official Chinese nationalism led its intended national members to remember their Chinese-hood (thereby maintaining its legitimacy) by telling a shared past, present, and future. That is, collective memory facilitates the imagination of people’s commonalities in a community. Moreover, the abstractness of commemorative narratives allows room for employing mnemonic techniques to narrate a preferred shared past, present, and thus future for people to memorize their national identification. In addition to detailing the employed mnemonic techniques observed in the official Chinese nationalism, how the narrated shared past, present, and future are introduced as a package in the commemorative narrative to construct an organic whole and how the commemorative narrative undergoes ongoing modifications are discussed as well.
Web platforms such as Facebook and Google have recently developed features which algorithmically curate digital artefacts composed of posts taken from personal online archives. While these artefacts ask people to fondly remember their digital histories, they can cause controversy when they depict recently deceased loved ones. We explore these controversies by situating algorithmic curation within the media ethics of grief, mourning and commemoration. In the vein of media archaeology, we compare these algorithms to similar work done by skilled professionals using older media forms, drawing on interviews with Australian funeral slideshow curators. This professional commemorative labour makes up part of a broader, institutionalised system of ‘death work’, a concept we take from thanatology. Through the media ethics of death work, we critique the current shortcomings of algorithmic memorials and propose a way of addressing them by ‘coding ethically’.
This article examines the resilient strategies of those people who were politically or ideologically repressed during Francoism. In total, 57 individuals were interviewed in depth in order to establish the strategies that they adopted to overcome adverse situations. The memories of the interviewees not only bring to light the diversity of resources used to face repression, but they also show how their individual strategies of resilience were linked to a collective resilience framework involving a large segment of the population who are still alive or who have handed on their experiences to their descendants. Past memories are consequently connected in the present with the (re)creation of a common identity and the restoration of dignity to the victims, who were classified as criminals in historical and legal archives and also suffered a process of social stigmatization. However, the aim of this article is not to resurrect the conflict in a society that has been ideologically divided for decades nor to transform history, but to cover the existing gaps in the official history. By doing this, it should be possible to strengthen the social and democratic values in a society that needs to build a future that is free from the ideological confrontations of the past.
This article proposes the concept of sustainable flood memory as a critical and agentic form of social and cultural remembering of learning to live with floods. Drawing upon research findings that use the 2007 floods in the South West of England as a case study, we explore and analyse the media representations of flooding, the role of community and communicative memory of past floods for fostering resilience, and map emotional and affective responses to floods. To approach flooding in this way is critical to understanding how communities engage in memory practices (remembering and strategically forgetting) in order to cope with environmental changes. Moreover, the article embraces a research design and strategy in which ‘memory studies’ is brought into a conversation not only with geography (mental maps), social sciences and flood risk management policy but also with stakeholders and communities who collect, archive and remember flood histories in their respective regions.
This article considers the notion that to document or inscribe our lives not only leaves a trace of our creaturely presence, but may also become a form of juris-writing, a writing that concerns and aims at Justice. Employing an expanded notion of Justice that takes it beyond the institutions of law, therefore, it asks about forms of documentality (Ferraris) that put us ‘before memory’ in Derrida’s sense. How is it possible to think curation in relation to a violent past in such a way that neither attempts to deny the lacunae nor surrenders in the face of the difficulties of such attempts? How should we consider the relation between the delimited encounter with an ‘invitation to imagine’ (Didi-Huberman) and processes of institutionalisation that build a society? What about those things that it is not possible to show, including relations of power, that arise analytically? Reflecting on current memory spaces, especially within ex-clandestine centres for detention, torture and extermination (ex-ccdtyes) in Argentina, the article offers five theses in order to consider what is at stake in the encounters staged at these sites.
Despite the crucial transformations that Spain has experienced since Franco’s death, and in contrast with other countries that have democratized in recent decades, considerable reluctance remains toward implementing transitional justice measures. On the contrary, there is a tendency to hold on to a framework that combines the Amnesty Law of 1977 with partial reparations as the best guarantors of democratic stability. According to extant literature, generational change has played a fundamental role in the direction taken by recent initiatives dealing with the memory of Francoist repression, particularly since 2000. A small but very active part of the "grandchildren’s generation" has driven various initiatives that have influenced political and judicial agendas. We provide empirical evidence showing that while, in general terms, it would be true to say that third and fourth generations have been more supportive of the implementation of bolder memory policies, their contribution must nevertheless be subjected to careful nuancing.
In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, the government of Rwanda—much like other transitional regimes around the world—has prioritized reconciliation initiatives that educate civilians with a highly politicized understanding of the conflict and encourage them to speak about the conflict and its aftermath in a manner that reinforces the legitimacy of the current government. However, individual survivors, bystanders, ex-combatants, and/or perpetrators of the genocide find various subtle ways to reinforce, resist, or complicate the current official history. This article analyzes a series of "iconic stories" that are repeated by Rwandans in different settings due to their historical and personal resonance for what they can tell us about the ethnic and political tensions that often continue to divide Rwandans and the overall challenges associated with everyday life since the genocide. Yet, engaging with these iconic stories places the researcher in a difficult position where the democratizing potential of oral history is potentially undermined. This article argues that even while qualitative researchers have an obligation to listen deeply to their informants, their moral and professional obligations to avoid reproducing narratives that promote potentially reprehensible agendas—for example, genocide denial or the legitimation of authoritarianism—make contextualizing their participants’ narratives in relation to the personal, historical, and political climate in which they are being produced essential.
This article explores the complex relationship between organisational change and historical dialogue in transitional societies. Using the policing reform process in Northern Ireland as an example, the article does three things: the first is to explore the ways in which policing changes were understood within the policing organisation and ‘community’ itself. The second is to make use of a processual approach, privileging the interactions of context, process and time within the analysis. Third, it considers this perspective through the relatively new lens of ‘historical dialogue’, understood here as a conversation and an oscillation between the past, present and future through reflections on individual and collective memories. Through this analysis, we consider how members’ understandings of a difficult past (and their roles in it) facilitated and/or impeded the organisations change process. Drawing on a range of interviews with previous and current members of the organisation, this article sheds new light on how institutions deal with and understand the past as they experience organisational change within a wider societal transition from conflict to nonviolence.
In this article, I explore the material rhetorics of place from the perspective of transferential space. Specifically, I examine the Silent Gesture statue of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at San José State University. Drawing on Alison Landsberg’s concept of transferential space and Dominick LaCapra’s concept of empathic unsettlement, I argue that the statue explores the limits of identification in such a way that illuminates new possibilities for the rhetoricity of transferential space. Specifically, I argue that the statue’s invitation to physically and metaphorically ‘Take a Stand’ with Smith and Carlos facilitates noteworthy tensions of civic identity and, in turn, fosters mnemonic practices of consubstantiality with the disenfranchised for its visitors.
The article explores the degree to which memory studies has become established as an academic field. Although we acknowledge that there are drawbacks to formal institutionalization, we contend that it is useful to think strategically about the future of memory studies. We argue that three key developments must take place in order for a field to become institutionalized. First, individual scholars must articulate the field through scientific production and collaboration. Second, higher education institutions must formally recognize the existence of the field through specialized programs and departments. And third, public and private donors must sponsor research via dedicated scholarships and grants. We use these phases as benchmarks in order to assess memory studies’ current state of development. After surveying important writings of key authors in memory studies, we test our assumptions through an online survey with 255 self-identified memory scholars. The results show memory studies to be in a mid-level state of development, where individual agents are the most active drivers of defining the boundaries of the field and driving its further establishment. The major obstacle in this process, identified in both the survey and in the literature review, is the fragmented nature of the discipline, which could be addressed through the pursuit of a more interdisciplinary (rather than multidisciplinary) research agenda.
Newspaper obituaries are carriers of collective memory, and researchers have found them to be a valuable source for discerning a society’s values. But obituaries are also about individuals, whose lives and identities they record—and for many people, they represent a unique instance in which their life story is told by a third party. In this article, I consider how collective memory of major public events is woven into the life stories told in obituaries by comparing recent obituaries of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam War. My findings suggest four interrelated ways that collective memory shapes these narratives: selection of defining life experiences, selection and emphasis of specific events and experiences, use of historical detail, and provision of cultural scripts. By influencing these components of the life stories told in obituaries, collective memory both occupies the narratives of individual veterans and maintains itself over time.
This research examines the way in which the collective memory of the 1990s conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina has been established and preserved at the memorial to genocide at Srebrenica. Based on extensive fieldwork at the site and in other regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the study explores the ways in which gender is represented at Srebrenica in the narratives and texts that commemorate Serbian aggression against Bosnian Muslim populations. Within the structures of memory that Srebrenica represents, the findings reveal the ways in which fathers and sons are recalled as victims of Serbian genocide and the importance of maternal tropes of memory for post-war nation building. Furthermore, the study reveals the absence of a rape discourse in the memorialization of war and genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the challenges of commemorating sexual atrocities in the aftermath of mass trauma. The work that is presented here contributes to the emerging literature on gender and collective memory and the ways in which women’s experiences are represented in structures of memorialization.
We seek to engage in this article the current debate in memory studies regarding the definition and nature of the phenomenon of collective memory. Using the controversy over Dow Chemical Corporation’s sponsorship of the London Olympic stadium in 2012 as an example, we theorize memory as inherently logical—that is, as necessary to the maintenance of the overarching logics that govern the political and economic forms of a given society. We suggest that physical memory, or memory manifested in material, spatial objects such as architecture, plays an important role in both inciting remembrance and encouraging forgetfulness. We also make a case for distinguishing between three facets of memory: memory as a collective phenomenon, memory as an individual phenomenon, and the interface between the two where shifts in the processes of remembering and forgetting are made possible. In making this case, we synthesize theories of collective memory with a theory of political critique.
How a memorial impacts public memory depends not just on its symbolic appeals but also on how it gains the attention of visitors and how those appeals convert visitors into engaged participants. Although numerous studies have explored visitors’ performances at sites of memory, this scholarship has largely overlooked what we call "the accidental tourist," the would-be visitor who had not planned to visit a site of memory but ended up doing so because of the site’s proximity to another existing attraction or daily route. Building on research into the performances of memory at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, we expand inquiry into the way memorials attract and engage visitors by studying two temporary memorials to the cost of the Iraq War. We demonstrate how these memorials gain attention and prompt the engagement of "accidental tourists" through temporal and spatial tactics as well as both overt and subtle cues for visitors to interact with the site, organizers, and other visitors.
This article analyses user-generated YouTube cut and mix videos of irregular migration as producing communicative memory of those who have suffered at Europe’s external borders. Visual and textual analyses examine a neglected perspective on the study of media representations of migration by examining a particular practice through which people engage with news images and participate in (re)construction of collective memory in relation to irregular migration. The analysis shows that while hegemonic Eurocentric imagery prevails also in the vernacular amateur productions, re-mixing different cultural productions nevertheless complicates the representation of irregular migration and affords alternative positions. The article examines an emerging area in memory studies: practices of vernacular commemoration and its convergence with more institutionalized and professional media and memory practices. The videos are communicative reactions to emotionally disturbing news images of suffering – the public’s re-articulations of migration and migration control, which nevertheless are constrained into the existing mainstream media framings and entertainment economies. This type of performative citizenship is crucial for social equality, particularly since non-performance of memory in relation to contemporary migration tragedies has dominated European public spheres.
This article focuses on Sarajevo’s memoryscape to investigate the ambiguous nature of artefacts of commemoration. Suggesting that memorials impact the ways in which people relate to the past and future, the article suggests that they represent important platforms on which different versions of peace and social justice are implicitly narrated and discussed. Depending on the artist/designer, the location, the shape, the audience and the surrounding socio-political discourses, memorials inspire and transform stories of war and peace. The controversies around the Sarajevo roses or monuments dedicated to the international community in Sarajevo mirror controversial societal debates around the nature and politics of peace(building). Conflict and contestation can thus be read through closer investigation of the maps of meaning underpinning the commemoration of certain events. Due to their ambiguous nature, monuments can be used as a platform for the constant transformation of discourses of peace into conflict, and vice versa.
In 2004, the Smithsonian debuted "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War," a permanent exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington DC. The exhibit occasioned strong criticism for its privatization of public memory and glorification of militarism. What has gone unexamined, however, is the curious absence of the 1801–1805 War with Tripoli from the exhibit. This war has long been invoked as an important lesson in US exceptionalism. The assault and short occupation of the coastal town of Derna by US-led forces in 1805 holds particular significance and commemorations of the battle during the twentieth century were important in the formation of attitudes that informed US approaches to empire before, during, and after the Cold War.
Many terms, such as spontaneous shrines, grassroots memorials and performative commemoratives, have been used to describe the collaborative on-site and online memorials created following the deaths of national and global figures, as well as those of unknown victims of mass-mediated disasters. I argue that the adjective "viral" better captures the temporality, spatiality, materiality, and mimeticism of these formations, as well as their frequent pathologization. Contemporary performative public mourning follows from mediated witnessing in the era of networked digital media, forming a witnessing/mourning assemblage. The corporeal testifying of the witness-turned-mourner contributes material derivatives to an affective network. Breaking from constative, narrative testimony and the exclusionary logic of the monument, these memorial aggregations emerge from processes of database (de)composition and network virality. Through the close analysis of a 2008 YouTube memorial video tribute for victims of a Greek bus accident, I consider shifts in public grieving and memorialization of catastrophic media events in relation to developments in web protocols and platforms.
Most parents sing to their children. Yet, little is known regarding how early musical experiences are retained later in life. This study is a first attempt to fill this gap in the literature. Based on the stratified sample, we asked 973 adults about their first memories of a song or melody. The results revealed that adults’ earliest memories of a song or melody generally were predated by memories for other events; thus, the music memories were not the very earliest memories. The earliest memories for musical experiences were rated as typical, fragmented, and positive. Women reported earlier music memories than men. Current age had no impact on the age of the earliest music memories, but older respondents rated their memories as more vivid. The reported parental communication quality during childhood was reliably related to the age and characteristics of the earliest music memories.
This article introduces and develops the concept of "collective future thought" and its implications for the interdisciplinary field of (collective) memory studies. The study of collective memory has much to gain from the complexity that interjecting future thought introduces into the various processes that are the foci of the field. This article defines the concept: the act of imagining an event that has yet to transpire on behalf of, or by, a group. Second, it proposes a more complex relation between the past, present, and future than is regularly invoked in the study of collective memory. Namely, we posit that collective future thought is simultaneously dependent on the past and itself acts as a catalyst for the (re)construction of the past. Finally, we consider the implications of the function of collective future thought for the study of collective memory and identify avenues for future interdisciplinary research.
Building on Mouffe’s critique of cosmopolitanism, this article argues that a cosmopolitan mode of remembering, far from having superseded the antagonistic mode associated with ‘first modernity’ in the European context, has proved unable to prevent the rise of, and is being increasingly challenged by, new antagonistic collective memories constructed by populist neo-nationalist movements. This article outlines the main defining characteristics of a third ‘agonistic’ mode of remembering, which is both reflexive and dialogic, yet also relies upon politicized representations of past conflicts, acknowledging civic and political passions as well as individual and collective agency.
A majority of today’s visitors to the Auschwitz memorial site take photos to document their stay. By calling attention to visitors’ photography on site, this article investigates the role of visual perception and visual techniques of memory for visits to memorial sites and empirically discusses the significance of historical imagination in linking the past with the present. Visitors’ photography at Auschwitz can be considered a mnemonic practice because seemingly lookalike, amateur pictures express modes of experience which are negotiated within an ethical and social framework. The strongest emotional impulse expressed in amateur photography on site is the feeling of the sublime, which supports the need to promote moral ideas like freedom or justice in the face of the past. Through participant-orientated research, this article contends that visual perception regulates sensual impressions during a visit and identifies six dominant photographic genres through which visitors focus their historical understanding of the site. Single images function within this as "storyboards" because of their strong narrative as well as mnemonic quality.
World War II held and retains a unique place in Soviet and post-Soviet historical memory. Scholars have generally studied the legacy of the war from the perspective of political and cultural elites. This article uses Russian digital commemoration to assess contemporary memory of World War II from a social perspective. A macroanalysis of I Remember, an interview and social networking site, and Pomnite Nas!, a site with user-contributed listings of war monuments, shows how popular memory of the war reiterates and updates Soviet historical narratives. Supported but not initiated by Vladimir Putin’s government, these sites show how state and society are interacting in Russia to produce and reproduce memory of the war. The article contributes both to methodological discussion of the internet as a source for memory studies and the fate of the Second World War in Russia.
Although the 2010 US Census counts documented a large Puerto Rican community in and around Orlando, Florida, 30 years earlier in 1980 Puerto Ricans were living scattered about the area practically unnoticed. A 2008–2009 oral history collection of Puerto Rican memories in Orlando from the 1940s to 1980s gives evidence that middle-class social relations mitigated racial dissonance for some in Orlando’s black-white binary, making it possible to almost disappear into the dominant society. This article posits collective memory as a sociocultural process not an outcome and argues that in that almost is a space of dissonance and difference, where strategic moments of forgetting and re-remembering inform the dynamics of collective memory formation. The memories recorded in the collection describe a slippery space between an invisibility emerging from pressures to assimilate and a hypervisibility emerging from US colonial history in Puerto Rico and widespread stereotyping of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States.
A provocative example of the relation between memory/memorializing and social transformation in a conflict area, the Museum of Gush Katif in Jerusalem is a private institution with the mission of memorializing the settlement-communities of the Gaza Strip (known to its residents as Gush Katif) and their evacuation by the Israeli Defense Forces in the summer of 2005. The museum presents an alternative narrative to that of the government and mainstream Israeli society, aims to foster sympathy for the evacuees and aspires to lead the viewer to identify with the settlements in order to prevent future evacuations. Its activities, both educational and political, bring it into contact with both religious and secular elements of Israeli society, as well as internationally, turning the museum into not only a site of cultural and political resistance but a cultural symbol in and of itself. This article explores the museum, and the process of remembering that it embodies, from a number of viewpoints. One, the way the museum evokes authoritative symbols from multiple and contrasting sources in order to frame contemporary events—and at the same time affecting the way those symbols are understood; two, the social makeup of the museum’s founders and organizers, seen as an expression of the changing alliances and political stances of cultural subgroups in Israeli society and thus the continued evolution of strategies of remembering; and three, the role of the Museum of Gush Katif as an "alternative museum" seen in the light of comparison with other examples of the category, certainly a provocative example, sometimes corroborating and sometimes complicating the term.
Known affectionately as ‘La Roja’ (‘The Red One’), the Spanish national football team has had a trajectory that is inextricably linked with the country’s historical and political events. The ‘historical memory’ of this convoluted historical period also infuses the history of the sport itself in Spain and is thoroughly marked by the authoritarian regime that governed the country at the time (1939–1975). This is a history that is indelibly marked by the military coup led by Francisco Franco and the dictatorship that followed it, which remain contested ground in twenty-first-century Spain. It is this historical amalgamation, this article will argue, that makes Spanish football an exemplary arena from which to observe the processes of memorialising and coming to terms with a divisive past.
This article analyses the recent struggle for control of the Provisional Irish Republican movement’s collective memory of the 1980–1981 hunger strikes, during which 10 Republicans died.2 It proceeds through an examination and interpretation of the published memoir-writing of some of the key protagonists within the broad Irish Republican movement. In particular, it examines the controversy surrounding the allegations made by Richard O’Rawe (former Public Relations Officer for the Irish Republican Army prisoners at the time of the 1981 strike), in his two volumes of memoir, Blanketmen (2005) and Afterlives (2010). The article addresses the role of dissent in the movement’s collective memory and the specific role of ‘memory entrepreneurs’ in the contestation of the Irish Republican ‘official’ memory of the hunger strikes.
Memory studies scholars tend to stress the significance of the media in shaping collective memories. This study offers a quantitative–empirical examination of this phenomenon. Applying a "memory-setting" research design, inspired by agenda-setting theory, the study examines correlations between the "media memory-agenda" and "public memory-agenda," to illuminate the influence of the media on the shaping of collective perceptions of the past. Findings point at a significant correlation between media and public memory-agendas, one that increases during periods of heightened coverage of past events. On the individual level, the role of media exposure to commemorative content is significant, surpassing that of direct participation in public commemoration. At the same time, some of the findings point to the resiliency of the public memory-agenda. Therefore, the study’s findings offer a novel understanding of the role of mass media in shaping collective memory, as well as the limits to its influence.
In cemeteries, we do not remember our dead privately or quietly, as for example, in prayers. Instead, we do so publicly and visibly, so that what we do (or do not do) can be noticed by the public. But how do we remember and commemorate our dead at public cemeteries? Based on mixed-methods analyses of the markers for the dead at cemeteries in a religiously relatively homogeneous (namely, Catholic) region, three recent socio-cultural evolutions are identified and analyzed: (1) the construction of idiosyncratic markers and the accompanying emergence of individualized identities, (2) the emphasis on embodied modes of remembrance, and (3) the increasing visibility of voluntary social commitments and strong ties. Overall, the findings presented here point to the growing diversification of our ways of publicly remembering and commemorating the dead.
In transitional justice and peacebuilding literature, the presentation of traumatic memory is thought to be predictably socially generative of healing, reconciliation, and justice. In rural Sierra Leone, however, the truth-telling performances of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were commonly experienced as provocative and as providing "no good thing." This article explains this phenomenon by demonstrating how truth-telling in this case generated particular social expectations and perceptions of the self as victim among those who performed traumatic memory. However, because the process required no one to perform the reciprocal role of patron in this context, where reciprocal relationships of patron and client are the social norm, the process was unpredictably socially generative. The socially generative nature of performative memory led to dissatisfaction with the performance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Recognizing that performances of memory are also performative provides new purchase on the potentially negative implications of truth-telling in complex patrimonial systems.
Collective memory processes have been studied from many different perspectives. For example, while psychology has investigated collaborative recall in small groups, other research traditions have focused on flashbulb memories or on the cultural processes involved in the formation of collective memories of entire nations. In this article, considering the online encyclopedia Wikipedia as a global memory place, we analyze online commemoration patterns of traumatic events. We extracted 88 articles and talk pages related to traumatic events, and using logistic regression, we analyzed their edit activity comparing it with more than 370,000 other Wikipedia pages. Results show that the relative amount of edits during anniversaries can significantly distinguish between pages related to traumatic events and other pages. The logistic regression results, together with the transcription of a group of messages exchanged by the users during the anniversaries of the September 11 attacks and the Virginia Tech massacre, suggest that commemoration activities take place in Wikipedia, opening the way to the quantitative study of online collective memory building processes on a large scale.
How does digitization reshape people’s engagement with their past? As ever more moments and interactions are objectified as digital data (photos, e-mail, instant messaging protocols) stored in digital archives that are constantly available and used intensively as memory aids, people’s engagement with their past is increasingly mediated by databases and algorithms. The article explores how the non-narrative, paradigmatic structure of the database then remoulds memory. More specifically, it is suggested that once encounters of people with representations of the past from their personal archives are mediated by search and sorting algorithms, memories lose their status as docile objects. When memory objects can appear in unexpected places and times, their agency qua memory actants can no longer be blackboxed. Rather than relations of possession, people then have neighbourly relations with the memory objects that populate their digital environments.
This article draws upon research into the practices within and later memories of Displaced Persons camps in Germany. These camps, set up immediately after the close of the Second World War, stayed open much longer than had first been anticipated, some remaining in operation well into the late 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, specific notions and practices of nation and culture became established, and the camps came to serve as complex sites of identity, belonging and also of difference. Through investigation of the oral and visual narratives of former Displaced Persons, this article examines the initial construction and later (re)viewing of old photographs as well as the reframings involved in the taking of new photographs, and assesses their role in the imagined and physical spaces of embodied memory, place and the shifting sites of belonging and identity.
In the 1980s, an anti-drunk-driving movement emerged, seemingly out of nowhere. How is it that this movement could flourish and have such dramatic effects? More significantly, how has Mothers Against Drunk Driving continued to flourish even today? In this article, I demonstrate that more than a strong organizational basis, the right historical context, and the appropriate management of material and symbolic resources, the continuing success of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and drunk driving depends on Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s ability to evoke intense emotions and fears surrounding drunk driving. Generalizing from Alexander et al.’s cultural trauma theory, I introduce two concepts: perpetual trauma and the trauma organization. Perpetual trauma is based on potentiality, a sense of future danger, and iconic victims/perpetrators. Beyond an improved understanding of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and drunk driving, perpetual trauma theory offers a sociological explanation for how individuals and societies understand their deepest fears and emotions in postmodern society.
This study deals with the historian Jan T Gross’ book Fear, published in 2006 in the United States and in 2008 in Poland. The book deserves special attention because it became one of the most discussed historical works in post-Communist Poland. In Fear, just as in his previous book Neighbors (2000), Gross challenged the Poles’ view of themselves as solely innocent victims of German Nazism and argued that anti-Semitism could and did lead them to kill Jews, both during and after the war. The author of the article seeks to answer the question as to what made the Poles react so strongly to Fear. She argues that the reasons are not only to be found in the book’s message and the political context in which it appeared but also in the mode of historical representation applied by Gross. The specific rhetoric of Fear has been noted by its critics, but no one analysed it closely. This study intends to fill that gap. The present author’s thesis is that in Fear, Gross uses the rhetorical design of a deliberative speech, and by so doing, anchors his narrative in the present and demands future action by his readers. This combination of telling about past events and pointing to their present relevance makes his narrative performance very different from conventional historiography. The value of Gross’ work lies not primarily in his contribution to the body of existing knowledge but in its functionality and performativity.
This article considers the emergence of the slave Middle Passage between Africa and the Americas as a pervasive topic and figure in modern black diasporic literature. It explores representation of the Atlantic crossing alongside broader questions about the formation and mutation of group identity based on understandings and constructions of a shared past. Three textual examples, taken from the work of David Dabydeen, John Edgar Wideman, and Toni Morrison, are used to illustrate the agency, variety, and suggestiveness of this oceanic imaginary and to highlight some specific functions of literary media. Theories of collective and cultural memory help address concerns with memorialization; the recovery of "forgotten" histories; the role of cultural production; and counter, contextual, and shifting narratives of the past.
The famous ‘madeleine episode’ of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is investigated with reference to cognitive realism in the evocation of memory, by asking how this literary memory experience compares with the conceptualization of memory in current cognitive science. Furthermore, what does close reading of the episode informed by current scientific findings and debates on memory and agency tell us about Proust’s categorization of this memory event as involuntary memory, and his presentation of voluntary and involuntary memory as a distinct opposition? I show that the madeleine episode (1) corresponds partly to cognitive realities as documented by recent science and partly to prevalent expectations about cognition or its narration, and (2) undermines the neat voluntary/involuntary distinction it initially seems to illustrate. I suggest how these qualities may affect readers’ responses to Proust’s famously evocative object.
In this article, we analyze 28 YouTube video tributes to fallen Danish soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq with two analytical goals. The goals are to first understand how the soldier as an object of communal grief is affectively and discursively established, discussed, and challenged in the videos and comments, and second to investigate what type of commemorative practices the specific media space of YouTube enables. Our first observation is that the videos’ attempts to construct the soldiers as national heroes and common objects of grief are repeatedly disputed and opposed by the people commenting on them. Our second point is that YouTube allows for a new type of commemorative practice, which, unlike the traditional war monuments of the nation-state, is marked by explicit differences of opinion concerning the status and legitimacy of the war. The analysis draws on theoretical insights from the fields of affect theory, participatory culture, DIY media, and memory studies.
This article examines the analogy between film and memory through a consideration of Shona Illingworth’s video and sound installation Balnakiel (2009). In particular, the article focuses on up-to-date psychological views of memory as a spatial as well as temporal construct and on the role of the point of view in memory retrieval. Central to the argument is the link between emotion and point of view as contingent on memory as a space that we inhabit. Sigmund Freud’s concept of screen memory is revisited in the light of current memory models, drawing attention to the salience of memory perspective for emotionally problematic memories. Within this context, the cultural analogy of memory and film is indicative of the broader relevance of the moving image as a referent for the understanding of memory processes and the ways in which we affectively position ourselves in relation to emotionally disturbing memories. In Balnakiel, a work informed by these new perspectives, place and memory feature as contested sites of individual and collective recollection.
Since its inception in 1957, the statue of General Douglas MacArthur at Incheon City in South Korea has been a robust signifier of the American rescuing mission during the Korean War that originally was meant to evoke gratitude among the South Koreans. Yet, South Korean activists in 2005 took iconoclastic actions against the statue, calling the public’s critical attention to both MacArthur’s actions and to the role of the United States during the Korean War. This case study of MacArthur’s statue reveals two processes at work: first, how a statue, in a time of transition, transforms itself from a mere signifier of intransigent history into a reflexive medium of transient memories of a past event and second, how a statue, in its surrounding space, can embrace the conflicting gestures that audiences from two different generational and ideological positions simultaneously perform. I conclude that a statue, reconfigured in time and space, has a strong potential to become a dissenting medium that effectively reemerges subversive memories to confront consensual notions of a past event.
In the context of the Cayman Islands and their people, this article examines the dynamic relationship between history, traditionalism, subjectivity, and memory. First, the author contends that expressed traditionalist memories are automatically accompanied by vibrant mental images that work to capture, perpetuate, and immortalize any perceived underlying past spirit in Caymanianness-affirming terms. Second, the attempt is made to explain how the subjective nature of expressed traditionalist Caymanian memories can be understood from the uncomplicated standpoint that people are keen to remember and talk about their lived past. The author also applies the concept of subjectivity to those more complex strains of expressed traditionalist memories that lament the loss of certain Caymanian traditions in a diluted, globalized present. Finally, the author demonstrates how younger Caymanians keen to cherish their ancestral past necessarily depend on expressed traditionalist memories, and in so doing, refashion such expressions in highly personalized, idealistic, and oftentimes problematic ways.
This article examines the potential of the new media to provide space for the voicing of traumatic pasts. Using the example of www.stasiopfer.de, a site dedicated to the victims of persecution in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), I consider the development of remembering communities on the internet. Close textual analysis of a selection of posts reveals the ways in which group belonging is constructed linguistically. The observation of a hybrid language form between orality and textuality, and the staging of temporal immediacy, is linked to the concept of a medial trace that has a structuring impact on the memories produced. I argue that in the case of internet communication part of this medial trace is the ‘catching’ of otherwise evanescent memory, that is, the mediatization of communicative memory. In this way, discussion forums that focus on memory can be described as both part of ‘stored’ cultural memory and mediated remembering communities.