New MeCoDEM Working Paper: Memory Studies

A concept paper by Tanja Bosch on the multidisciplinary field of Memory Studies is now available.

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Executive Summary
The paper outlines the evolution of the multidisciplinary field of memory studies, from the first use of the term collective memory in the early 1900s. It provides some context to the use of the terms collective memory, cultural memory, historical memory, cultural memory etc. The paper argues that the MeCoDEM project can draw upon conceptual notions from the field of memory studies, in order to interrogate the media’s role in constructing and disseminating collective memories of conflict in the transitional countries we are studying.

The paper presents:

  • A discussion of the methods used in memory studies, explaining how attention to questions of methodology has been limited in memory studies because much research has been more concerned with theoretical issues. The paper reflects on the methods from oral history, as well as other methods such as discourse analysis, which has been used in processes of remembering, showing how people co-construct the past in their joint production of the social worlds they inhabit through speech and language.
  • Some thoughts about how memory studies and media studies intersect, particularly given that the mass media plays a key role in the constitution of memory – and the politics of remembering is intrinsically connected to power.
  •  A brief discussion of the critiques of memory studies, mainly that the field has not paid attention to the problem of reception (in terms of methods and sources) and thus cannot illuminate the sociological basis of historical representations.