Is All Reification Forgetting?: On Connerton’s Types of Forgetting

Scott Timcke


Drawing upon the Frankfurt School Critical Theory tradition, I offer a defence of Connerton’s version of collective forgetting against recent detractors. This defence, however, is qualified and pertains strictly to geography and material culture aspects of collective forgetting. In this respect, the paper argues that models of individual and collective memory must attend to the historical forces that combine to (re)produce a particular environment, and further, they should consider the subsequent role the reproduction process plays on triggering moments of recollection or collective memory actions. To explicate this claim, I draw upon a Marxist inspired account of the labour process to show that variations in types of consciousness are related to particular modes of production. It is my intent to explicate Connerton’s theoretical reasoning such that readers from diverse backgrounds are better informed about his underlying set of assumptions. In this respect, this paper aims to contribute to advancing a political economy of memory.


Memory; Political Economy; Critical Theory

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