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23. Collective Memory

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Chapter Summary

The collective memory field is characterized by diverse conceptualizations of the "social" or "collective" nature of memory, as well as by fundamentally different understandings of where collective memory resides. These differences coalesce into two perspectives on collective memory that have guided theoretical and empirical writing: one that focuses on representations and symbols that embody memory or act as its "vehicles", and one that focuses on subjective memories and views of the past held by groups of individuals. Research that focuses on the memories held by individuals often examines the shaping influence of social and historical contexts, and also points to the role of social processes in the formation and retrieval of memories. Given the centrality of Confucius in Chinese society, and the fit between Confucian doctrine and the values of Chinese culture, the only alternative to such a process of selective remembering was complete rejection.

Keywords: collective memory; Confucian doctrine; historical contexts; social relationships



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