Why we study media?
- Memory connects us to a sense of history, continuity
- ‘Memory forges the chain of tradition that passes events on from generation to generation’
Walter Benjamin, Schriften, 2 vols. (Frankfurt, 1955), I, 429.
Berlin Wall & Cold War: Berlin: Landscape of Memory
- Memory is connected to our sense of identity
- ‘Memory is a central, if not the central, medium through which identities are constituted.’
(Olick and Robbins, 1998 p. 133)
- Memory is produced through discourse (Misztal, 2003)
- Furthermore, those who control the discourse, can dictate what memories survive and which don’t.
- All goes back to Foucault…
- For Foucault memory is a site of struggle and a ‘discursive tool’.
“where memory is concerned, the personal is political.”
(Susanna Radstone, 2008 p. 33)
- Maurice Halbwachs On Collective Memory (1925)
- Memory is collective as much as it is individual
- What is worth remembering is defined by the social group
- Our personal memories cannot be untangled from our social context within a group
- He was primarily interested in the family but thought memory also operated on a societal level.
- Memory is not static, it is a process. Memories are always being reconstructed and revised based on the present context.
“Groups are able to create collective memories by focusing on particular dates, people, places and objects and ignoring others.” – Pierre Nora (1998)
“These are technologies of memory, not vessels of memory in which memory passively resides” (Sturken 1997 p. 9 quoted in Shazad 2012, p. 379-380)
“Tendency to remember and recollect events more fondly and positively than they were at the time of the experience” (Neese 2016)
Rosy retrospection “may suggest some reasons or circumstances where people learn less from experience than they could or should. Constantly rewriting the past in a favourable light may mean we don’t adjust to the demands of the future.”
Historicism is ‘the random cannibalisation of all the styles of the past, the play of random stylistic allusion’. (Jameson, 1984 p. 65-66)
The past has ‘become a vast collection of images, a multitudinous photographic simulacrum.’ (Jameson, 1984 p. 66)
We are obsessed with the past in more extreme ways than before. To such an extent that representations of the past stand in for it. Such representations often have a correctional impulse.
“Baudrillard warns that what we are attempting, through the processes and practices of commemoration and remembrance is not just an investigation of the past, of history, but also an effort to “correct” it.” – (Godfrey & Lilley 2009, P. 289)
Guardian online, 20/09/2015 (accessed 19/10/15):
“For the residents of a small village in Oxfordshire, the hit television show has become reality. … Such is the power of television images”
“They [Americans] are completely mad ………. and take it very literally. They will visit the churchyard and demand to see the gravestone of Matthew Crawley.” – One resident.