Collective memory from a psychological perspective

Alin Coman, Adam D. Brown, Jonathan Koppel, William Hirst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The study of collective memory has burgeoned in the last 20 years, so much so that one can even detect a growing resistance to what some view as the imperialistic march of memory studies across the social sciences (e.g., Berliner 2005; Fabian 1999). Yet despite its clear advance, one area that has remained on the sidelines is psychology. On the one hand, this disinterest is surprising, since memory is of central concern to psychologists. On the other hand, the relative absence of the study of collective memory within the discipline of psychology seems to suit both psychology and other disciplines of the social sciences, for reasons that will be made clear. This paper explores how psychology might step from the sidelines and contribute meaningfully to discussions of collective memory. It reviews aspects of the small literature on the psychology of collective memory and connects this work to the larger scholarly community's interest in collective memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Collective forgetting
  • Collective memory
  • Memory restructuring
  • Social contagion


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