Cultural memory and societal change

The thematic collaboration in cultural memory and social change supports the extensive, critical and multidisciplinary research on memory and its social connections. Cultural memory refers to the collective practices that societies use to build and uphold their relationship to the past, living in the present, and preparing for the future.

Remembering is interaction between individuals, and memories are socially shaped and negotiated. Media, popular culture, art as well as educational institutions create and disseminate cultural memory. They shape narratives through which experiences are shared within communities and across generations. Research participates in this process by exploring the condensations of memory as well as what is forgotten. As society changes, the objects and practices of remembering change; on the other hand, new practices of memory create conditions for social change and political debate.

Communities, groups and minorities have their own cultural memories, and understanding them forms the starting-point for cultural sustainability and well-being. Memory lives in the present and defines how we understand ourselves and our place in the world as well as how we imagine and shape the future. At the University of Turku, cultural memory and social change are studied extensively from the prehistoric times to the present.

Examples of the University’s strong research in cultural memory and social change are:

  • interrelations between experience, narrative and memory
  • cultural health and well-being
  • arts and popular culture as constructors and challengers of cultural memory
  • education, media and politics in the making of social meanings
  • cultural memory and processes of social change in relation to inequality and multiculturalism
  • cultural myths and identities
  • re-assessment of cultural premises based on ancient DNA
  • digital cultural heritage