Global memory and the rhythm of life

  • Stepnisky J
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Collective memory has been central to the creation of community throughout history. Nevertheless, the structure and content of memory narratives have changed significantly from premodern, modern, and into the global era. This article builds on scholarship in cultural globalization and collective memory studies to describe global memory. Beginning with a review of theories of collective memory, especially as it develops in oral (premodern) and literary/print (modern) societies, the article then describes features of globalization and the way that these shape the emergence of global memory. Global memory grows out of the interconnectedness facilitated by electronic media and expresses consciousness of a common humanity. Furthermore, global memory responds to dilemmas and problems of globalization including global risk and the threat of intercultural conflict. This account of global memory is illustrated with a description and analysis of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Memory of the World program.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Collective memory
  • Cultural sociology
  • Globalization
  • Narrative theory
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

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  • Jeffrey Stepnisky

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