Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of “historical memory,” often expressed as “collective memory,” “social memory,” or for political scientists, “the politics of memory,” refers to the ways in which groups, collectivities, and nations construct and identify with particular narratives about historical periods or events. Historical memories are foundational to social and political identities and are also often reshaped in relation to the present historical-political moment. In this entry, the origins and uses of this concept in contemporary political science are discussed. This applies particularly to recent transitions from authoritarian rule and the formation of newly democratizing political cultures. The study of memory has a long tradition in other social science disciplines. Yet until fairly recently, political scientists tended to dismiss historical memory as a conceptual or research arena. There seemed to be three general reasons for this: First, political scientists saw memory as too subjective, as properly the realm of psychology, difficult to ...