The Social Construction of Memory and Forgetting

Diogenes 51 (1):65-75 (2004)
Half a century after Halbwachs laid the foundations of a sociology of memory, a new edition of his work Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire has allowed scholars both to understand it more fully and to appreciate its limitations. This article attempts to elucidate the problem of collective memory, distinguishing different forms of memory in the state and civil society. In this dialectic between state and society, collective memory is constructed. This is the main hypothesis of the article. The author uses Fromm’s classic work on Mexican peasants as well as Borges’s Funes the Memorious. Both texts – one socio-psychoanalytic, the other literary – illustrate forms of social memory, its achievements and its limitations
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