Memory and Dreaming
Having looked in some detail at autobiographical memory in Opal’s stories and Alpurrurulam more broadly I will now look at how this analysis fits in with other memory frameworks. This is both an important and problematic question. In looking at memory in this context we find that it presents at least two main challenges to standard descriptions in the memory studies literature. Firstly we find that while Opal’s pronoun use and other evidence suggest an allocentric form of self-construal, a self-construal oriented in a way which is inclusive of others as well as context, this does not arise from nor is it produced by the kinds of interdependent cultural models described in the literature. The larger challenge posed to typical understandings of memory arises from the lack of both temporality, with regard to duration, and chronological ordering in narrative and remembering. This presents a major challenge in relation to descriptions of memory as ‘mental time travel’. An emphasis on spatial over temporal ordering brings up important challenges in relation to what precisely ‘counts’ as memory. While there is a paucity of literature on memory in Aboriginal Australian cultures there is a huge literature on people’s relationships to the more distant past. This literature can help to shed some light on the temporal aspects of remembering in this context and in looking at both of these challenges together in an interdisciplinary analysis we can see more clearly some of the unique ways of remembering and how they fit with current concepts of memory.
KeywordsAutobiographical Memory Oral History Aboriginal Child Distant Past Spatial Strategy
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