The Time of Collective Memory: Social Cohesion and Historical Discontinuity in Paul Ricœur’s Memory, History, Forgetting

Jeffrey Andrew Barash


One of principal tasks of Paul Ricoeur’s Memory, History, Forgetting is to analyze the phenomenon of social cohesion, understood not as a uniform bond, but in terms of human plurality that arises from a diversity of perspectives of remembering groups rooted in complex stratifications and concatenations. This paper focuses on the role of remembrance and of its historical inscription as a source of social cohesion, which is subject to rupture and dissolution over time. It first identifies the way in which, according to Ricœur, memory and history function as essential preconditions of social cohesion; following this, it examines the significance and scope of temporal rupture and discontinuity to which this cohesion is subject. In examining Ricœur’s reflection on social cohesion and on the discontinuity to which it is subject over time, I aim to place his thought in a critical light in order to set in relief what I take to be an important aporia it encounters.


Collective Memory; Historical Discontinuity; Cassirer; Halbwachs; Husserl; Symbol

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Copyright (c) 2019 Jeffrey Andrew Barash

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ISSN 2156-7808 (online)