Collective Identity and Collective Memory in the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur

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Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies, ISSN: 2156-7808, Vol: 3, Issue: 1, Page: 114-131

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Leichter, David J.;
University Library System, University of Pittsburgh, Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies
Philosophy, Ricoeur, Hermeneutics, Collective memory, Intersubjectivity, Narrative identity
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Collective memory has been a notoriously difficult concept to define. I appeal to Paul Ricoeur and argue that his account of the relationship of the self and her community can clarify the meaning of collective memory. While memory properly understood belongs, in each case, to individuals, such memory exists and is shaped by a relationship with others. Furthermore, because individuals are constituted over a span of time and through intersubjective associations, the notion of collective memory ought to be understood in terms of the way that memory enacts and reenacts networks of relations among individuals and the communities to which they belong, rather than in terms of a model that reifies either individuals or groups. Ricoeur’s account can show sources of oppression and offers ways to respond to them.

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