Cultural Memory

Authored by: Robert DeHart

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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Cultural memory is a term used to describe interpretations of the past created by a group to address contemporary concerns. Cultural memory is transmitted to other individuals in forms such as commemorations, rituals, monuments, oral traditions, museum exhibits, books, and films. Groups or nations create and transmit cultural memory primarily to promote unity, identity, or some other political or cultural ideal. The term traces its origins to anthropology, but sociologists developed its theoretical framework. Since the 1980s, a number of academic disciplines have embraced cultural memory studies as a valuable tool of inquiry. Although it is a popular field of research, critics contend that a number of methodological issues need to be resolved. The term has entered the popular lexicon to describe how the works of a contemporary generation utilizes the traditions of a previous generation.

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