Collective Memory of Political Events: Social Psychological Perspectives

By James W. Pennebaker; Dario Paez et al. | Go to book overview

and traditions, social memories should be profoundly altered. On the other hand, the present findings dealing with the time course of collective memories hint that a resurgence of positive collective memories will begin to surface no earlier than two decades from now.

Finally, collective memories are powerful meaning-making tools both for the community and the individuals in the community. Individuals partly define themselves by their own traits, but also by those groups to which they belong, as well as by their historical circumstances. Collective memories provide a backdrop or a context for much of people's identity (cf. Baumeister, 1986). History defines us just as we define history. As our identities and cultures evolve over time, we tacitly reconstruct our histories. By the same token, these new collectively defined historical memories help to provide identities for succeeding generations.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Part of the research was supported by grant SBR94-11674 from the National Science Foundation and MH52391 from the National Institutes of Health to James W. Pennebaker.


REFERENCES

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Baddeley A. D. ( 1986). Working memory. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Bakhurst D. ( 1990). Social memory in Soviet thought. In D. Middleton & D. Edwards (Eds.), Collective remembering. London: Sage.

Baumeister R. F. ( 1986). Identity: Cultural change and the struggle for the self. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bohannon J. N., & Symons V. L. ( 1992). Flashbulb memories: Confidence, consistency, and quantity. In E. Winograd & U. Neisser (Eds.), Affect and accuracy in recall (pp. 65-91). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Brown R., & Kulik J. ( 1977), "Flashbulb memories". Cognition, 5, 73-99.

Bruce D. ( 1985). "The how and why of ecological memory". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 114, 78-90.

Connerton P. ( 1989). How societies remember. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

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Craik F. I. M., & Lockhart R. S. ( 1986). "CHARM is not enough: Comments on Eich's model of cued recall". Psychological Review, 93, 360-364.

Crow D. M., & Pennebaker J. W. ( 1996). The Persian Gulf War: The forgetting of an emotionally important event. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Erikson E. ( 1950). Childhood and society. New York: Norton.

Erikson E. ( 1975). Life history and the historical moment. New York: Norton.

Fentriss J., & Wickham C. ( 1992). Social memory. Cambridge, England: Blackwell.

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