The Individual and Society in the Concept of “Collective Memory” by Maurice Halbwachs

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The issue of collective memory, which is an integral component of modern memory studies, is considered in the paper. Memory, as the author notes, is a way for people to construct their past, which belongs to history. The concept of “collective memory”, proposed by the French historian and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs at the beginning of the last century, opened the prospect of overcoming the absolutization of psychologism in historical research, and also defines the scientific sense of the meaning of collective historical trauma. The ideas of the French scientist regarding the presence of memory in the oral tradition and methods of analyzing forms of oral communication are studied. The sense of using the concept of “frame”, which is a combination of spatio-temporal and social representations mediated by place, form, name, reasoning, and language, is revealed. In this context, the main idea of the scientist is the assertion that memories of the past are determined by social frameworks. The variability and transformation of social frameworks in connection with the entry of a person into many groups is emphasized in the paper. Group memory is the memory of people who live now and can discuss memories of their past. Examining Christianity as an example showed how gradually the collective memory of a group of believers, which coincided with the collective memory of society as a whole, was completely transformed under the influence of new and the latest social challenges. The role of tradition in the historical process is considered in the context of collective memory. Therefore, the paper suggests that society is able to act productively if its institutions rely on collective ideas and collective memory.


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How to Cite
Ilin, V. (2023) “The Individual and Society in the Concept of ‘Collective Memory’ by Maurice Halbwachs”, Problems of World History, (22), pp. 7–15. doi: 10.46869/2707-6776-2023-22-1.
Author Biography

V. Ilin

Ilyin Volodymyr – Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Professor of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.


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