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The poverty of memory: For political economy in memory studies

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journal contribution
posted on 31.01.2017, 10:40 by Matthew J. Allen
Memory and economy share unique historical correspondence and conflation in ways that continue to be felt for shaping and affecting our social lives. For a quick illustration we can recall that the apocryphal “discovery” of the method of loci art of memory, as recounted by Cicero, occurred in a moment of economic dispute. Or consider here that the legal genealogy of the modern corporation has its origins in the collegia of Roman law, which included burial societies charged in perpetuity with ensuring the proper observation of memorial rites in the event of a member’s death. More crucially many members of society have already begun to feel how so called austerity measures, imposed on public services throughout the world following the 2008 financial crisis, have affected memory in society; from distressing autobiographical memories with redundancy and unemployment to the withdrawal of much needed services for those members of society living with a difficult relation to the past. Memory and economy are fundamentally interwoven. The confluence of these domains has on occasion dispensed our techniques, legal frameworks and psychic conditions for organising economic and mnemonic relations. Even so memory studies has yet to fully elaborate an agenda, along with the requisite theoretical and methodological tools, to properly explain the origins and implications of these dynamics. It is beyond the scope of this editorial, and my own limitations, to deliver here the kind of survey needed to follow all these contours, but I do want to highlight some inroads with the intention of opening further dialogue and debate that problem-poses memory in some way with reference to economic dynamics. [Opening paragraph]

History

Citation

Memory Studies, 2016, 9 (4), pp. 371-375

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Management

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Memory Studies

Publisher

SAGE Publications

issn

1750-6980

eissn

1750-6999

Copyright date

2016

Available date

31/01/2017

Publisher version

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1750698016661131

Language

en

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