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Collective Memory and Social Restructuring in the Case of Traditional Inuit Shamanism

Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


This article explores the sociological processes of collective memory manipulation in unsettled times by analyzing a case study of the Church's displacement of traditional shamanism in Arviat, Nunavut. Collective memory studies, which examine regime transitions, focus on tracing the path of collective memory, rather than examining the mechanisms used to gain and keep control over collective memory. I argue that three elements are necessary for this kind of control: (1) shifting the “historical horizon” to temporally locate the competing institution firmly in the past within community memory, (2) manipulating the reputation of the competing, soon‐to‐be‐previous institution, and (3) establishing a new moral framework. I center my argument primarily on the accomplishment of these elements using narrative and rhetoric, which emerged through inductive analysis.