The six articles in this trenchant issue of American Behavioral Scientist showcase how memory has been perceived by society throughout time. Why is memory important, especially at this point in history? As this issue demonstrates, "social," "collective," and even "traumatic" memories are significant building blocks in the rise and fall of nations, communities, politics and culture. Electronic, surveillance, digital, and biological technologies today offer new forms of memory (what the editor has dubbed "commodity" memory) that challenge our concepts of individuality and privacy.
The diverse articles analyze important topics including:
- Historical analysis of collective memory, and how it influenced later concepts of a social construction of reality (Packard and Chen)
- How collective memory is and is not a factor in democratic nation building (Misztal)
- True and false repressed child sexual abuse memories (Hall and Kondora)
- Methodology and personal insights regarding writing and talking about cult-ritual and family abuse memories(Pepinsky)
- Surveillance in America(Produced by FLASHPOINTS, KPFA 94.5 FM, Pacifica Radio)
- How historical social collective memory is being preserved in electronic form (Stepinsky)
This issue of American Behavioral Scientist aims to improve the language, theory, and analytical methods of describing public and private memories, and should be included in every sociology library!