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Social Memory: New Perspectives on the Past

Chris Wickham

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ISBN 10: 1597406716 / ISBN 13: 9781597406710
Published by ACLS Humanities E-Book
New Condition: New Soft cover
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242 pages. Dimensions: 8.8in. x 6.0in. x 0.9in. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Bookseller Inventory # 9781597406710

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Social Memory: New Perspectives on the Past

Publisher: ACLS Humanities E-Book

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

Book Type: Paperback

About this title


The operation of individual and group memory conditions perceptions of the past profoundly affects understanding of the present. This book considers the nature of social memory and its manifestations in myth, fairytale and the writing of history itself, with examples ranging from the Brothers Grimm and the Icelandic sagas to the reputation of Charlemagne, the perception of the Mafia and the uses of the past in sub-Saharan Africa.

From the Back Cover:

In this book, an anthropologist and an historian investigate the role of memory in the interpretation and reconstruction of the past. Variation and change in historical legends, fairy tales and myths, in the writing of history itself, reflect moral and political points of view that are distinctive of time and place. Equally revealing are the things different groups choose to commemorate: in the Cevenne region of southern France, popular consciousness is still structured by memories of the Camisard wars of the eighteenth century, while perceptions of the recent past among the miners of Yorkshire and South Wales are structured by the memory of the strikes in the 1970s and 1980s, in turn mediated by the memories and tales of earlier struggles. The authors contrast local and national memory and consider how far each may be consciously constructed or manipulated for ideological or political ends.

Ranging from the writings of the Grimm brothers to Gregory of Tours, from accounts of the career of Charlemagne and the Icelandic sagas to the uses of the past in sub-Saharan Africa and among the Sicilian mafia, the authors examine the powerful workings of memory. Conformation to the facts is shown frequently to be less relevant than the needs of different communities to validate belief and to justify the present. The operation of social memory is above all creative: understanding how this is so, as this book ably demonstrates, provides considerable insights on human culture and society now and in the past.

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