Social Memory

Memory is that faculty that enables individuals to learn, accumulate knowledge, and recall ideas, feelings, and events associated with the past. But memory is not only individual: The work of Maurice Halbwachs underlines the social and collective dimensions of memory, as a community or nation builds its own shared narrative, constantly reshaped in response to present-day issues.

Religions call upon memory in its individual, familial, and collective dimensions in a variety of contexts. Religious celebrations are most often structured by rituals—such as the Eucharist (or Holy Communion) in Christianity—which invite participants to reiterate words and gestures in reference to a foundational event, placing memorization at the core of religious practices. Liturgical calendars punctuate the religious cycle of activities with the commemoration of relevant sacred figures and ...

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