At the Threshold of Memory: Collective Memory between Personal Experience and Political Identity


Collective memory is thought to be something “more” than a conglomeration of personal memories which compose it. Yet, each of us, each individual in every society, remembers from a personal point of view. And if there is memory beyond personal experience through which collective identities are configured, in what “place” might one legitimately situate it? In addressing this question, this article examines the political significance of the distinction between two levels of what are often lumped together under the term of “collective memory”: memories that are retained through the direct experience of groups or associations of a limited size and those that are rarely the object of direct experience constituting the events marking the identities of mass societies.

Keywords: collective memory, public memory, political thought, public sphere, symbolic form

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