Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: On cultural amnesia critical theory and contemporary discourses of forgetting
Author: Bramall, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0001 3476 7128
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2007
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines contemporary discourses of forgetting, and in particular the notion of `cultural amnesia'. I take as the object of my research the mobilization of amnesia in the humanities and social sciences during the last two decades, arguing that this concept does not have a consistent relation to cultural phenomena but rather names a perceived loss, absence or deficiency, and sometimes excess or surfeit, in knowledge and the articulation of knowledge. I explore what is at stake in these rulings of cultural and social deficiency, the values and frameworks that are invoked to authorize them, and the specific fact of their being set out in terms of memory. My method of historicizing the emergence of the concept of amnesia as a preferred means of figuring cultural deficiency is to trace in contemporary discourses of forgetting certain legacies of Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. I submit that Theodor W. Adorno's thought is construed by theorists working on the subject of memory as a significant antecedent for contemporary debates; specifically, he is regarded as having anticipated late twentieth-century anxieties about amnesia. I attend to such characterizations both by offering a fresh consideration of the function of memory-related concepts in Critical Theory and by questioning what is at stake in contemporary claims of a relationship to - as well as in frequent disavowals of - aspects of this current of thought. The chapters that follow examine: the discursive functions of the concept of amnesia in cultural and social theory; the relationship between the concepts of reification and forgetting; the processes through which the postwar period became recognized as a period of amnesia for the Holocaust; the place of the concept of amnesia in Fredric Jameson's thesis on postmodernism and in today's recollection of his contribution; and the return of the notion of `the forgotten' in the turn to ethics in poststructuralist literary theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available