Analiza i Egzystencja

ISSN: 1734-9923     eISSN: 2300-7621    OAI    DOI: 10.18276/aie.2021.53-01

Issue archive / 53 (2021)
Social structure and collective memory

Authors: Magdalena Żardecka ORCID
Uniwersytet Rzeszowski
Keywords: social theory structuration collective memory unconscious
Year of publication:2021
Page range:20 (5-24)
Cited-by (Crossref) ?:


The paper explores the relation between collective memory and social theory, trying in particular to show the key role that the notion of collective memory plays in understanding the dynamics of the social process (structuration, genesis of social structure). It does it by means of a series of reinterpretations of classical authors. Investigating the phenomenon of forgetting as covering up the traces of social change (M. Halbwachs), problematized in the contemporary context (P. Bourdieu), leads us to unraveling the problematic character of social change as such in a vain effort of annulment of memory (A. Touraine), and finally to rediscovering of social memory at a deeper level, as a profound structure of social processes. This discovery points to the necessity of introducing a new, yet undeveloped method of studying the social unconscious (A. Giddens, J. Assmann, and in particular J. Alexander). Jeffrey Alexander overtly postulates such a development, identifying his major project of cultural sociology with a kind of social psychoanalysis. The paper ends with a question – where such a postulate leads us to? Perhaps we need a new kind of art of benevolent interpretation that brings along with new understanding also some kind of soothing the pain of misery, deeply inscribed in social existence.
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