History and Theory 53 (1):24-44 (2014)

This essay takes up the call for a “third phase” in memory studies and makes theoretical and methodological suggestions for its further development. Starting from an understanding of memory that centers on memory's temporality, its relation to language, and its quality as a social action, the essay puts forward the concept of “entangled memory.” On a theoretical level, it brings to the fore the entangledness of acts of remembering. In a synchronic perspective, memory's entangledness is presented as twofold. Every act of remembering inscribes an individual in multiple social frames. This polyphony entails the simultaneous existence of concurrent interpretations of the past. In a diachronic perspective, memory is entangled in the dynamic relation between single acts of remembering and changing mnemonic patterns. Memory scholars therefore uncover boundless cross-referential configurations. Wishing to enhance the dialogue between the theoretical and the empirical parts of memory studies, we propose four devices that serve as a heuristic in the study of memory's entanglement: chronology against time, conflict, generations, and self-reflexivity. Current debates on European memory permit us to explore the possible benefits that the concept of entangled memory carries for memory studies
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DOI 10.1111/hith.10693
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