Beyond the Archive: Memory, Narrative, and the Autobiographical Process

Hardcover | September 16, 2015

byJens Brockmeier

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Our longstanding view of memory and remembering is in the midst of a profound transformation. This transformation does not only affect our concept of memory or a particular idea of how we remember and forget; it is a wider cultural process. In order to understand it, one must step back andconsider what is meant when we say memory. Brockmeier's far-ranging studies offer such a perspective, synthesizing understandings of remembering from the neurosciences, humanities, social studies, and in key works of autobiographical literature and life-writing. His conclusions force us to radicallyrethink our very notion of memory as an archive of the past, one that suggests the natural existence of a distinctive human capacity (or a set of neuronal systems) enabling us to "encode," "store," and "recall" past experiences.Now, propelled by new scientific insights and digital technologies, a new picture is emerging. It shows that there are many cultural forms of remembering and forgetting, embedded in a broad spectrum of human activities and artifacts. This picture is more complex than any notion of memory as storageof the past would allow. Indeed it comes with a number of alternatives to the archival memory, one of which Brockmeier describes as the narrative approach. The narrative approach not only permits us to explore the storied weave of our most personal form of remembering - that is, the autobiographical- it also sheds new light on the interrelations among memory, self, and culture.

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Our longstanding view of memory and remembering is in the midst of a profound transformation. This transformation does not only affect our concept of memory or a particular idea of how we remember and forget; it is a wider cultural process. In order to understand it, one must step back andconsider what is meant when we say memory. Broc...

Jens Brockmeier is a professor at The American University of Paris. With a background in psychology, philosophy, and language studies, his interests are in issues of human identity, mind, and language, which he has examined in a variety of cultural contexts and under conditions of health and illness.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:424 pages, 9.29 × 6.5 × 1.3 inPublished:September 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199861560

ISBN - 13:9780199861569

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgments1. Introduction: The Memory Crisis2. Imagining Memory: The Archive Disintegrates3. Shaping Memory: History, Metaphor, and Narrative4. Interpreting Memory: The Narrative Alternative5. Dissecting Memory: Unraveling the Autobiographical Process6. Creating the Memory of Oneself: Narrative Identity7. Inhabiting a Culture of Memory: The autobiographical Process as a Form of Life8. Dissolving the Time of Memory: The autobiographical Process as Temporal Self-Localization9. Beyond time: The Autobiographical Process as Search Movement10. Reframing MemoryReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"A large-minded re-envisaging of memory built on an unrivalled depth of learning in cognitive neuroscience, history of ideas and narrative studies... A superb interdisciplinary synthesis that reconceptualises autobiographical meaning as acts of remembering and self-interpretation in thecontext of cultural memory." --Brian Hurwitz, Professor of Medicine and the Arts, Director of the Centre for the Humanities and Health, King's College London