Theories of Social Remembering (Theorizing Society) by Barbara Misztal

By Barbara Misztal

“brilliant… a magnificent travel de force” Network
*Why does collective reminiscence matter?
*How is social reminiscence generated, maintained and reproduced?
*How will we clarify adjustments within the content material and position of collective memory?

Through a synthesis of previous and new theories of social remembering, this ebook presents the 1st accomplished evaluate of the sociology of reminiscence. This swiftly increasing box explores how representations of the earlier are generated, maintained and reproduced via texts, pictures, websites, rituals and reports. the most objective of the booklet is to teach to what quantity the research of reminiscence demanding situations sociological understandings of the formation of social identities and conflicts. It illustrates the hot prestige of reminiscence in modern societies by way of studying the advanced relationships among reminiscence and commemoration, reminiscence and id, reminiscence and trauma, and reminiscence and justice.

The booklet involves six chapters, with the 1st 3 dedicated to conceptualising the method of remembering by way of studying memory's functionality, prestige and historical past, in addition to by means of finding the examine of reminiscence in a broader box of social technology. the second one a part of the e-book without delay explores and discusses theories and experiences of social remembering. After a brief end, which argues that learn of collective reminiscence is a crucial a part of any exam of latest society, the word list bargains a concise and recent evaluate of the advance of proper theoretical recommendations. the result's a vital textual content for undergraduate classes in social conception, the sociology of reminiscence and a much wider viewers in cultural reviews, historical past and politics.

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Extra resources for Theories of Social Remembering (Theorizing Society)

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These scholars argue that the distinction between oral and literary societies is misleading because, as the continuation of the oral component in literary societies illustrates, the possession of writing does not mean that a society has ceased to be an oral culture as well. The majority of researchers agree that the rise of literacy does not necessarily bring the devalourization of memory and that learning by hearing material and reciting it does not necessarily imply an ignorance of reading. The reliance on living memories, associated with the oral transmission of a living past persisted long after the advent of print, and indeed continues to the present day (Ong 1983).

The oral transmission of the past means that the past is bound to the present for its survival. The past exists only in so far as it continues to be held in living memory, and it is so remembered only as long as it serves present needs. Due to the limitations of memory in oral cultures, such societies’ response to time is limited to an annual cycle and therefore cannot be used to differentiate longer periods than seasons. In oral societies, time is not a continuum as it is ‘an order of events of outstanding significance to a group’ (Evans-Pritchard 1968: 109).

In the Renaissance, the art of memory expressed the period’s expanded power of imagination and harmonized intellectually with its geometric architecture (Yates 1966: 152–69). Although the humanist philosophers rejected the art of memory, for the hermetic philosophers it still had a special appeal as it allowed for the revival of the belief in the magical power of memory, alchemy, astrology, cabalism, and magic. In this mystical tradition of occult science, the magical practice of memory was conceptualized as a kind of ‘ascent to the stars’ (Samuel 1994: ix) and became connected with METAMORPHOSIS OF MEMORY 35 the issue of human immortality, with the result that spiritual theories of memory gained in significance (Draaisma 2000: 60–4).

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