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collective memory- tok prezzy Anu Roy

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Anu Roy

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of collective memory- tok prezzy Anu Roy

Collective Memory
People alive in the United States will share both type of memories- but those born after the event can only create intentional memories.

Spontaneous memories existing in those who survived the attack/ those who were present during the event will make up their collective memory.

With 9/11, most people would say they remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.

But many studies have shown that those people aren't necessarily right as data has proven.
Intentional memories will fade with time, as the more relevant ones replace them.

However, spontaneous memories will be in the background waiting for a trigger.

Memory as a WOK
9/11 is a historical day especially for Americans.
The community and sharing aspect of collective memories can inforce and sometimes shape them.
"We remember the details of a flashbulb occasion, because those details are the links between our own history and history. They are the place where we line up our own lives with the course of history, and say, 'I was there.'" - Neisser.

Memory- the faculty in which the mind stores and remembers information.
It is the process in which information is encoded, stored and retrieved.
Allows information from the outside world to reach our senses in the form of chemical and physical stimuli.
Memory isn't a primary way of "knowing"
Some argue it isn't a source of knowlege but a process used to recall gained knowledge in the past
Instead, we use other ways of knowing to provide us with initial knowledge, and afterwards employ memory to modify and enhance that knowledge
In order to build objective knowledge,memory is a way of knowing that must be treated cautiously.
Knowedge Issue
National Event:9/11
The Semptember 11 attacks was a series of four cooridinated terrorist attacks launched by the islamic terrorist group (al-Qaeda) upon the US in NYC.

Four passenger airlines were hijacked by 19 al qaeda terrorists so they could be flown into the buildings in suicide attacks

Two of these planes were crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trace Center in NYC.

The events of September 11th will always be with us, and it may fade from the forefront of our minds. But it will be more vivid and significant for us than successive generations.

Photographs can trigger a spontanous memory that cannot be triggered in future generations as they have no emotional significance attached to the memory.
This is because of the major role of emotion on memories

This concept can be explained by flashbulb memories.
Its a special type of emotional memory which refers to vivid and detailed memories of highly emotional events that appeared to be recorded in the brain as though with the help of a camera's flash.

A flashbulb memory is a highly detailed, exceptionally vivid 'snapshot' of the moment and circumstances in which a piece of surprising and consequential (or emotionally arousing) news was heard

Usually, when a memory has highly vivid details and you're confident in those details, that means you're likely to be right.
Henri Berson: differentiation in memory structures.
2 types of memory:
Intentional and Spontaneous

If an airplane was heard flying overhead- it may trigger the video of the raw footage of the first plane hitting the world trade center.

People who lived through the war, can tell you great emotional details about the event because it had a personal tie for their generation.

It can bring forth a sense of identity as citizens.

It's one of those rare times that our personal memories can intersect with history.
The intersection of our personal history with history, and our collective memory can also be strengthened by the media.
"What were you doing when... happened?" - this refers to a large heavily mediatized event, and has become a very important question in the history of the development of the collective memory.

As a result of television repeats, these moments can be relived long after the actual event happens.

Introductions of video stores in 1980s, the internet in 1990s, and youtube in the 2000s, increases the opportunity to spread and replay these images and scenes.

In society, this allows for politicians, journalists, advertisers to make constant references to these scenes, knowing a larger audience will recognize and understand without further explanation.
Constant references = constant reminders.
Its innovations and societal influences like these that have allowed major events to become a part of our collective memory.

In what ways do different factors influence the collective memory and signficance of national events?

Therefore, our confidence in certain collective memories may have less to do with the "flashbulb" aspect but more to how we see ourselves as a part of a community, and a part of history.

Most people between 10/30 now will attach more meaning to 9/11 compared to anyone who will come later or has lived before.

Those over thirty and not born yet have their own events that hold the focus of their generational collective memories.

In what ways do different factors influence the collective memory and signficance of 9/11?
Memories of national traumatic events are collective phenomena.

collective memory
1. The ability of a community to remember events.
2. The collection of memories shared by a common culture.

Intentional memory- involes encoding and retrieval. It is an intentional deliberate, and quantitative act.

Eg. memorizng the sequence of events, the number of deaths etc

Spontaneous memory-
Memory is impromptu, it is formed by a byproduct, and is qualitiative in nature.

E.g it could be a sound, or a feeling from that day or something someone said.
However, those who weren't alive can discuss the caues/effects of the war:
On what day was Pearl Harbor bombed? What was the time span of WW II? What year to what year? How many people died from the US? From other countries? In total?
The strength of the collective memory lies in the signficance not the quantitative details.
We can use photographic evidence to preserve the memory, which allows us to revisit the event and maintain its presence in collective memories, seeing it as we saw it, real, as it happened.

Emotion gives you a stronger confidence in your memory than it does necessarily in the accuracy.
For this reason, the collective memory of those who lived through 9/11 will be more vividly remembered than those who have not.

The internet is a medium that also lends itself to the collective memorization of 9/11.

The different sites of vast stories, reflections, and memories of that day through blogs and other media bring together a stronger collective memory.
The real action lies in the ability to discuss their views. People can express not only their memories, but their political views as to how the event should be remembered.
It is all part of the way many Americans circulate, and reshape how that one day is talked about and remembered in larger national discourse
Memories are shaped by the present, and the ways that different events are viewed depends a lot on individual perspectives and politics.
There are vastly different ways that people from across the political and social spectrum talk about and remember 9/11 through blogs and other online media
The significance of 9/11 and the formed collective memory depend on this vast conversation that Americans continue to participate in, effectively shaping, creating, and re-creating conceptions and memories of that day over and over again.

The collective memory will fade depending on age because successive generations will not attach the same meaning and significance to the event as the generations that were in their formative stages did.

Thus, there is a personal and national identity involved
While collective memory is clearly a social product individual memory also comes into play as a result of age, or the effect of media and political views.

Individuals can tie their own recollections, discuss their views with each other, and filter these perceptions of the past not only through their own experiences but also through society as a whole which also interpret these events.
These intepretations shape collective memories to a great extent.

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