9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS07 Memory, Culture and Public Discourse

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 New Directions in Memory, Culture, and Public Discour Building I, 1E7

Reflections on Editing the Collective Memory Reader


Social memory studies, Olick and Robbins wrote in 1998, is "a non-paradigmatic, transdisciplinary, centerless enterprise." Has the situation improved in the last ten years, in which we have witnessed a veritable explosion of writing on collective memory and its correlates? We argue that it has not, because, as that review also stated, social memory studies has ironically not developed a memory of its own. In this paper, we explore the challenges we faced in editing The Collective Memory Reader, to be published later this year by Oxford University Press. Is it possible to define a field, identify exemplars, and to construct a canon without reducing creativity and excluding difference? More mundanely, what works have we considered essential, and how did we go about drawing boundaries?