New Formations No 30 Cultural Memory
by Erica Carter
ISBN 0853158606 (0-85315-860-6)
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Softcover, Lawrence & Wishart, 1997
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Book summary: "New Formations" is a journal of cultural debate, history and theory. It brings new and challenging perspectives to bear on the categories that frame cultural analysis and political action. The journal has covered issues ranging from the seduction of perversity to questions of nationalism and post-colonialism. Contributors open up new zones of enquiry whilst drawing new charts of understanding to explain new formations in contemporary life. "New Formations" brings together in one volume both established and new writers from many walks of critical life. Past contributors have included: Parveen Adams, Nomi Bhabha, Slavoj Zizek, Susan Buck-Morss, Gillian Rose, Jacqueline Rose, Zygmunt Bauman and Christopher Norris. The past emerges, or is invoked, in many different forms, and the term "memory" is a reminder of this variety. "Memory" is often contrasted with "history", which typically refers to a formalized recording of the past - an important but by no means exclusive way of focusing on "pastness". All cultures have cultural memories which preserve the past in forms which are every bit as powerful as personal and intimate recollection; this cultural memory is formed through complex social and psychic processes, and - life every aspect of the cultural terrain - is the site of contestation. There are controversies concerning strategies for appropriate textual reading, as well as questions about who controls collective remembering and forgetting. The memories discussed in this volume include those disseminated through war memorials, autobiographical writing, photographs, personal memory, cinema and social ritual. Their complexity and diversity demonstrate that "pastness", however distinctive, is not an homogeneous category within culture; its form, tonality and medium are inevitably caught up in the struggles of the time and the investments that attend every act of remembrance.
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