Memory

Memory is the modality in which the past is made new again and again. As Donald Lowe explains, “There is no past in itself. It is forever lost. But each present symbolizes a past on its own terms” (1982, 39). Mediated forms of communication shape the meaning of memory through both their form and their content. The technologies of telegraphy, photography, sound recording, radio, motion pictures, and television transformed experiences of time and place by connecting the “here and now” to the “there and then.” The photograph, the phonograph, and the motion picture preserved images, sounds, and performances across time, exposing audiences dispersed over space to memories of a vicariously shared “past” that they had not experienced personally. Mass communication undermined the specificity of local memories and traditions by producing new experiences of temporal simultaneity across spaces (Cooley 1909; Czitrom 1982). Accelerating processes that had been produced initially by the …

This essay may be found on page 121 of the printed volume.

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