The term social memory seems to be taking hold in the resilience and disaster fields but I came across a new term today that I thought was interesting. Fincher et al (2014) in a paper in Geoforum use the term ‘time stories’ which they define as ‘narratives connecting pasts, presents and futures’
There were two aspects of this paper that I found interesting. Firstly the authors describe four ways that geographers consider linked aspects of ‘time and place that range from the daily aspects of ‘lived experiences’ to imaginings of the future. I thought that social memory, as we consider it in this blog, links best with their understanding:
The third part of our understanding of time is that the time periods of past, present and future—those imagined, remembered and experienced times—form a central organising mechanism for thoughts and actions. Time stories are central to when people make sense of events and predictions. Philosophers have focused on elucidating the relationship between past, present and future, those three phases of time that are unable really to be demarcated empirically because of the human habit of forming ‘‘an extended present’’ from them (Shipman and Baert, 2000, p. 317).
Secondly, I thought one key finding of the paper – that for community members it is the continuities that are very important – was interesting given our blog’s focus on disasters. Because we know that continuities can abruptly and rapidly become discontinuities. So I wonder how ‘time stories’ would play out in a community that has experienced a natural disaster?