The Layers of Memory Cover Image

Az emlékezet rétegei
The Layers of Memory

Author(s): András Keszei
Subject(s): History
Published by: KORALL Társadalomtörténeti Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: Recent studies in memory and remembering emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. Sites of memory, the symbolic cultural toolkit and the social frameworks of memory contribute to the construction of individual and collective memories. Neurocognitive research found that memories exist in our brains as imperfect imprints of original event experiences. Consequently every single recollection is a kind of reconstruction, which is governed by the current aims, self image, strategies and situation of the working self. Culture serves as an external source of identification, which strengthens the community’s collective identity anchoring it to past times. Both for individuals and collectives, one of the main functions of remembering is providing an enduring identity that makes individuals feel comfortable, „at home” in society. Just like autobiographical memory in the case of the individual, the selective workings of collective memory help to create a coherent self for society. Remembering as an inherently social and communicative process, which is mediated by cultural artifacts (narratives, symbols, objects) is the product of group work. Ingroup memories through regular commemorations bring community members closer together, stressing common fate, feelings, orientation. As inherently social beings humans almost spontaneously form groups of collective memory that strengthens their identity and sense of belonging. People make sense of their life in time and community, with the help of a society’s cultural narrative frames. The community members’ identity in space and time is located by culture-specific narrative templates, making remembrance a crucial activity on the individual and the collective level. It is through this activity, that we experience our sameness and continuity in time.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 41
  • Page Range: 5-34
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: Hungarian