Memory and Culture in Social Movements

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When telling alternative stories on the Internet and in street protest, activists publicize memories excluded from national history books and mainstream media audiences. At the same time, officials also publicize claims for apology and repair in official public commemorations created for reconciliation. How do social movements construct and use memory, and how does the politics of memory shape cultural meaning-making in movements? To begin answering this question, my contribution brings together a cultural sociology of social movements with an interdisciplinary analysis of memory drawing on psychoanalytical, visual, and historical approaches. Movement scholars who focused on narrative, discourse, framing, and performance show how activists actively construct and mobilize collective memory. We know much less, however, about interactions between multiple layers and forms of remembering stored in images, stories, or performances, or discursive forms. How do conflicting or contradictory memories about the past inside movement groups condition activists’ ability to speak, write, and even think about the future? While previous work conceived of memory in movements as a subcategory of narrative, discourse, and framing, my central point is to understand how memory itself structures these forms of meaning-making — as an independent and multidimensional category of cultural analysis.
Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationConceptualizing Culture in Social Movement Research
EditorsB Baumgarten, P. Daphi, P. Ullrich
Publication date2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-38579-6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ID: 184389717