Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Public Health

Major

Sociology

First Advisor

Jaye Cee Whitehead

Abstract

We, as human beings, experience much of our lives through memory, reflecting on our individual pasts. As time passes and moments slip away, our entire experience is converted into a mental depiction of whatever went before “now”. So, too, are the memories of collectives, groups, cultures, and societies. These memories are malleable, imperfect, and incomplete, similar to individual memory. Through interaction, we socially construct the meaning of the past. Through this process, we form the basis of our identity.

This study explores a type of group memory titled “collective memory,” first proposed by Maurice Halbwachs in 1925, which explains the relationship between memory and identity. Cultural nostalgia, a widespread feeling of sadness when the present is compared to the past, utilizes collective memory to depict an intimate and emotional history. The association between collective memory and cultural nostalgia has been explored by evaluating “Yugo-Nostalgia,” one particular example of cultural nostalgia, which takes place in the former Yugoslavia. I argue that processes of nostalgia construction and remembrance are independent and propose a way of understanding evolving interpretations of the past.

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