Essay On Collective Memory

2298 Words10 Pages
Collective Memory (1800) Most interpretations of history are to some extend based on an arbitrary selection of events influenced by ideology. Accordingly, they can easily assume a mythical character, which can function to legitimize social and political practices or mobilize action or identification with a cause through anchoring of the present in the past and actualization of the past in the present. Through this mythologization, nations, social groups or set of individuals produce its collective memory and establish their distinctive identity (Wistrich and Ohana 1995: ix). In order to understand how the Zionist movement creates their specific view on the Diaspora, and how Gordon uses this view to establish a distinct identity for the Jewish people, we must understand the mechanics of collective memory. Collective memory is the remembered history of a community; the way groups form memories out of a shared past to create a common identity. Collective memory is the structures that underlie all myths and histories without any distinction between them. The past that is fixed and internalized is myth, whether it is fact or fiction (Assmann 2011: 59). Therefore the memory of a group is a construction, or reconstruction, of the past. Collective memory can be expressed through a variety of different medias, e.g. festivals, rituals, symbols, memorial places, museums, as well as oral and written narratives, like myths, prophecies, law material, biographies and perceived historical accounts (Lewis 1975: 13). Each memory is specifically designed to recall events in the history of the collective. The past remembered is not necessarily a historically accurate past, but it is based on stories recognized to be the past as it has been remembe... ... middle of paper ... ...m the identity of the exile, but a transformation of the exile identity (Zerubavel 1995: 21). National redemption was linked to the idea of redeeming the land, and accordingly Zionist settlers believed they would find personal and collective redemption in the process of settling in and working the land (Zerubavel 1995: 28). Rebuilding the nation through settlements became a sacred act, a work of creation; As I will show in my examination of Gordon’s ideology Zionist settlers replaced God as the creator of life (Zerubavel 1995: 29). The negation of the Diaspora has a mythical character, which functions to legitimize social and political practices and mobilize action and identification with a cause. Gordon establishes this myth of identity through anchoring of the present in the diasporic past and actualization of the diasporic past in the present in the Yishuv.
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