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Especially influential is his argument for a balance between memory and forgetting, in both individual and collective life.

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The Power of Collective Memory - Scientific American

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Powered by: PubFactory. Ever since then, they have been a critical part of the study of nations and nationalism. This is the "existential fusion" in which "our own personal biography with the history of the groups or communities to which we belong" becomes "an indispensable part of our social identity. The so-called memory boom has been widespread in the humanities and in the social sciences over the last three decades, yet international relations IR as a field has been relatively quiet regarding the notion of memory. Despite the fact that collective memories of contentious pasts so often complicate international relations between former perpetrator and victim nations, and that people in the world are so frequently attracted, swayed, and annoyed by national pasts, the question of national diversities and the constitutive nature of the formation of national consciousness has long been a non-issue in IR.

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Although IR has finally started discussing memory dynamics, especially in terms of collective trauma, it is still in a nascent stage. Power and the Past: Collective Memory and International Relations addresses the very question of the role of collective memory in international affairs. Editors Eric Langenbacher and Yossi Shain both affiliated with Georgetown University compile a variety of case studies that make this volume an important contribution to our understanding of the inter-connected relationship between memory, identity, and international relations.

For Dr. Wang, narratives matter.

Q+A: History as battleground: How does memory shape today’s politics?

The collection of a people's thoughts and beliefs about themselves and their nation is difficult to quantify effectively; however, these are crucial elements to understanding what drives the actions of nations. As Andrei Markovits and Simon Reich suggest, "the politics of collective memory…is a major ingredient of the political arena, the public discourse, and the policy setting in every country.

It defines such key ingredients as pride, shame, fear, revenge, and comfort for a large number of a country's citizens. This is critical because national identity shapes the national interests that guide policy makers in crafting foreign policy; in understanding a nation's historical memory and national identity, there is an opportunity to gain clarity into the intentions and actions of other countries. This implication makes historical memory and identity necessary to understand, research, and discuss in both academic and political circles; however, for these discussions to be productive, theories on these concepts must be rooted in concrete research.

As the first book on this specific topic, Memory Politics, Identity and Conflict: Historical Memory as a Variable provides a needed guide to critically examining these ideas.

Collective memory

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