Culture and Memory: A Constructive Approach

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This chapter explores memory as a constructive process occurring at the intersection of a person and their social-cultural world. To do this, it moves away from the traditional metaphor of memory as storage and develops the alternative metaphor of construction. The foundations for this approach are found in Lev Vygotsky’s theory of mediation and microgenesis, together with Frederic Bartlett’s notion of reconstructive remembering and methods of repeated and serial reproduction. Their ideas are combined to develop an approach that analyzes remembering as part of an evolving cultural process, one that is also often conflictual and transformative. This approach is illustrated with studies of the emergence of memories in conversation, the narrative mediation of memory, the role of social positioning, and the dynamics of urban memory during periods of radical social change.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Advances in Culture and Psychology
EditorsM. Gelfand, C.Y. Chiu, Y.Y. Hong
Number of pages61
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date1 Apr 2021
ISBN (Print)9780190079758 , 978-0190079741
ISBN (Electronic)9780190079741
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press.


  • Conflict
  • Constructive
  • Conversation
  • Mediation
  • Metaphor
  • Microgenesis
  • Narrative
  • Positioning
  • Repeated reproduction
  • Urban memory


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