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Updated Up To 23/01/2018
Volume 10, Issue 2 (June 2012) : 183-195
Articulations of Memory
Reflections on Imagination and the Scope of Collective Memory in the Public Sphere
Jeffrey Andrew Barash
Rubric A: Collective Memory
Rubric B: French Literature


During the decades following the pioneering work of authors such as Walter Benjamin or Maurice Halbwachs in the 1920s and 1930s, it has become increasingly common to refer to memory as a source not only of personal identity or of the identity of small groups but also of large collectivities. In recent years an ever growing number of studies in a variety of disciplines employ the concept of collective memory.  Using the example of an episode from Chateaubriand’s Mémoires d’outre-tombe, this paper investigates the meaning of this concept in the methodological perspective of philosophy and the role of imagination in collectively remembered, communicable experience. It aims to elucidate the way in which collective memory might be demarcated from constructs of the imagination, above all in the public sphere.

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