Memory and History

Memory should not be mistaken for History (Pierre Nora)

Historical memory is how we remember the past and in what form. The terms ‘history’ and ‘memory’ have very different meanings.

History is a record of significant past events but is not a neutral record. This record will always be incomplete and problematic.

Memories are constantly being made and forgotten. They can be manipulated and changed. There are individual memories, which are your memories, and social memories. Social memory, where you share a common history with a specific group of people, is crucial in creating and maintaining a sense of individual and community identity.

We must be aware that disagreements about what events occurred in the past and how we should remember them are common. Powerful groups in society can dominate the stories that are heard.

The field of historical memory is often linked to commemoration, by way of events, places, texts, artefacts and symbols that remain significant to the group. The past decades have seen great changes across the world, such as mass migrations and globalisation, which lead people to question their identity. Who are we? Where am I from? How should I act in the present and future?

If you want to learn more about the concepts of memory and identity, please click here to check the theoretical framework of the project.

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