Memory and Cognition

In Susannah Radstone & Barry Schwarz (eds.), Memory: theories, histories, debates. New York: Fordham University Press. pp. 209-226 (2010)
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In his contribution to the first issue of Memory Studies, Jeffrey Olick notes that despite “the mutual affirmations of psychologists who want more emphasis on the social and sociologists who want more emphasis on the cognitive”, in fact “actual crossdisciplinary research … has been much rarer than affirmations about its necessity and desirability” (2008: 27). The peculiar, contingent disciplinary divisions which structure our academic institutions create and enable many powerful intellectual cultures: but memory researchers are unusually aware that uneasy faultlines and glaring gulfs lie in the uncertain zones between them. The processes of memory are simultaneously natural and cultural. But our difficulties in imagining even fragments of a genuinely integrated framework for understanding diverse memory-related phenomena do not arise from a simple ‘two-cultures’ problem: it’s not as if there are substantially unified visions of memory within either ‘the sciences’ or ‘the humanities’.
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