Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Collective memory is defined as any shared memory held by two or more members of a given social group. This type of memory has been studied intensely since Maurice Halbwachs’ introduction of the idea at the beginning of the 20th century. Until recently, cognitive scientists have not participated in the conversation on collective memory; however, one group of researchers recently introduced a model that compares individual and collective memory consolidation as analogous processes on different levels (Anastasio et al, 2012). This paper uses Anastasio’s model to explore the process of collective memory consolidation in contemporary Ireland (especially 1950-present), a nation that has experienced an enormous amount of cultural change in the past several decades. Over a period of two months (May-July 2015), 46 interviews were collected in various locations throughout Ireland. Focusing on important elements such as The Troubles, Catholic sexual abuse scandals, and the Celtic Tiger period of the Irish economy, qualitative data analysis shows strong evidence for the capacity of consolidated collective memory to be updated, fractured, and changed based on significant events, much like long-term individual memory. Due to the small scale of this study, the results should not be seen as exhaustive, but the beginning of a conversation on collective memory change in Ireland.
Nelson, Erik David, "Memory, Narrative, and Identity Shifts in Modern Ireland" (2016). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 883.
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