Young societies with long memories. A study into "remembering" in Israel/Palestine and South Africa - Sam Hines - E-Book

Young societies with long memories. A study into "remembering" in Israel/Palestine and South Africa E-Book

Sam Hines

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Essay from the year 2019 in the subject History - World History - Basics, grade: 69, Oxford University, language: English, abstract: This essay will investigate whether a memory can predate a nation’s formation and whether they can, in fact, be ‘long’ by conducting a study from two angles - the first exploring persisting memories from before 1948 and the second examining the memories of that year and beyond. By focusing mainly on Israeli and Palestinian society but also touching on South African, it will conclude that young societies can have long memories: these communities all drew upon their past experiences (or what they believed to be their past experiences), whether they be during times of colonial occupation or other traumatic events across the globe, to create a prosthetic, collective memory to augment a quasi-ubiquitous nationalistic sentiment and enhance zealous beliefs. Ultimately, as Megill notes, in moments of crisis, people often hark back to the past with greater intensity, valorising memory and weaving embellished narratives into the political and cultural discourse. Societies are trapped in their own past, characterised by their collective ideologies, understanding and memories. Although a society may be ‘young’ in terms of its conception date, citizens inherit pre-state narratives that heavily influence and shape contemporary actions and ideas. These ‘long’ memories tend to be ‘collective’, a narrative in which individual memories agglomerate in an intersubjective process, being exchanged, appropriated and forgotten. During this process, the frontiers between what one has actually ‘experienced’ and what one believes they have experienced - through hearing or reading for example - often become blurred, leading to the creation of a prosthetic memory.

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