The "Agential Spiral": Reading Public Memory Through Paul Ricoeur

Philosophy and Rhetoric 46 (2):182-206 (2013)
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In an essay examining Hannah Arendt's approach to public memory, rhetorical scholar Stephen H. Browne notes that "to remember is thus not simply to turn backward; it is itself a type of action that steadies us in the face of an unknown and unpredictable future" (2004, 60). The act of remembering connects the rememberer to both the past and the future. As scholars such as Benedict Anderson, John Bodnar, and John Gillis have pointed out, remembering also connects human beings to their contemporaries and "imagined communities" by establishing a common narrative and space for identification. In many cases, action itself provides the material from which memories are formed—an individual from the past betrayed his ..



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