The Importance Of Social Memory

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Memory is an essential part of an individual’s identity, as it connects with the past and defines the present. However, memory is important on an individual level as well as on a level of a collective. According to many theorists such as Maurice Halbwach, individual memory is “fragmentary and incomplete”, and therefore is “guided by the script that collective memory provides” (Sturken 4). Thus, the term collective, cultural or social memory as Astrid Erll has mentioned refers to “the interplay of present and past in socio-cultural contexts” that may concern either “individual acts of remembering in a social context to group memory” (2) or national memories which are based on a specific narrative. Additionally, a cultural memory is rather distinct from “personal memory and history”, as it is “a field of contested meanings” (Sturken 2), constantly under social construction and ongoing debates about the historical accuracy and credibility. However, since collective memories are socially reconstructed and not reproduced, as a result nations may suffer from a collective amnesia. The “culture of amnesia actually involves the generation of memory in new forms, a process often misinterpreted as forgetting” (Sturken 2). Hence, at times “elites may try to create officially sanctioned memories” (Gallicchio 979) by asserting particular versions of the past and forgetting significant aspects of the history. Moreover, a vast number of historians use the word “myth” (Gallicchio
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