What informs the process of remembering and forgetting? Is it merely about our capability to store and retrieve experiences in a purely functional sense? What about 'collective memories', not just those of the individual - how do these manifest themselves in the passages of time? The authors present a new, fascinating insight into the social psychology of experience drawing upon a number of classic works (particularly by Frederick Bartlett, Maurice Halbwachs & Henri Bergson) to help develop their argument. The significance of their ideas for developing a contemporary psychology of experience is illustrated with material from studies focused on settings at home and at work, in public and commercial organizations where remembering and forgetting are matters of concern, involving language and text based communication, objects and place. As their argument unfolds, the authors reveal that memories do not solely reside in a linear passage of time, linking past, present and future, nor do they solely rest within the indidvidual's conciousness, but that memory sits at the very heart of 'lived experience'; whether collective or individual, the vehicle for how we remember or forget is linked to social interaction, object interaction and the different durations of living that we all have. It is very much connected to the social psychology of experience. This book is written for advanced undergraduate, masters and doctoral students in social psychology. However, it will also be of particular value on courses that deal with conceptual and historical issues in psychology (in cognate disciplines as well) and supplmentary reading in cognitive science.
Chapter Twelve: Unlimiting Experience: Dynamics of Remembering and Forgetting
Unlimiting Experience: Dynamics of Remembering and Forgetting
We speak of change, but we do not think about it. We say that change exists, that everything changes, that change is the very law of things: yes we say it and we repeat it; but those are only words and we reason and philosophise as though it did not exist. (Bergson, 1992: 131)
A few years ago, we both attended a workshop in Manchester where we presented some work on practices of remembering in organisations. The presentation went well, we thought. We had made our points about remembering as a collective activity built around communicative action. Everybody in the room – mainly sociologists, anthropologists and organisation theorists – had nodded sagely in ...