Collective Memory of Political Events: Social Psychological Perspectives

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

and attitudes toward the SCW, and that exactly the opposite happens when exposed to a more dramatic film. Works of art act as "external containers" of emotions, beliefs, and attitudes toward the collective events of the past. But they also play an effective role in maintaining and reconstructing the historical past. Producing works of art or semiotic structures that commemorate the war stressing the individual participation while not paying much attention to the sociopolitical causes of the war, giving a neutral or ambivalent view of the event, will distance oneself from the collective event and foster forgetting instead of helping to express the contradictory collective memory of a war that split the country in two. Exactly the opposite will happen with semiotic structures that insist on the suffering and sociopolitical causes of the collective catastrophe. These semiotic structures will produce more emotional activity, more reflection, and a stronger identification with the characters. These processes are linked to a stronger agreement with critical and negative beliefs on the war. These different processes activated by the films are a sign of the struggle in search of "rendering some meaning to the past," which is a feature of the collective memory of traumatic collective events such as the SCW.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The writing of this chapter and some of the research reported herein was partially supported by grant PB 94-0475-CO2 from the Ministry of Education and Science, Spain.


REFERENCES

Allport G., & Postman L. ( 1952/ 1977). Psicología del rumor [Psychology of rumor]. Buenos Aires: Pléyade.

Bartlett F. C. ( 1932/ 1990). La memoria. Studio i psicologia sperimentale e sociale [Memory: A study in experimental and social psychology]. Milano: Franco Angeli Editore.

Bertrand de M. Muñoz ( 1993). "Literatura de la guerra civil [Literature of the civil war]". Anthropos, 148, 6-24.

Erdelyi M. H. ( 1990). "Repression, reconstruction and defense: History and integration of the psychoanalytic and experimental frameworks". In J. L. Singer (Ed.), Repression and dissociation (pp. 1-31). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Flora J. A., & Maibach E. W. ( 1990). "Cognitive responses to AIDS information: The effects of issue involvement and message appeal". Communication Research, 17( 6), 759-774.

García E. C. Fernández ( 1992). El cine Español contemporáneo [The contemporary Spanish movie]. Barcelona: CILEH.

Gerbner G., Gross L., Morgan M., & Signorielli N. ( 1980). "The mainstreaming of America: Violence profile no. 11". Journal of Communication, 30( 3), 10-29.

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