COLLECTIVE MEMORY AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Tint, B., Portland State University, USA
Many conflict resolution processes today attempt to address conflicts between ethnic groups whose history of long standing animosity and strife create entrenchment and the perpetuation of destructive dynamics. While most would agree that history and the memories that people and societies hold play an important role in these dynamics, there is little in the actual conflict resolution literature that addresses these memories and their utilization directly. Particular to this idea is the concept of collective memory, which is the constructed process that a society forms around its own history. Collective memory processes are found to be subjective, fluid and strongly connected to issues of identity. Furthermore, collective memory is often manipulated and enhanced through various social institutions to serve the political aims of the society. In the research being presented, qualitative research interviews were conducted with both Israelis and Palestinians to further explore this issue of collective memory and its impact on perceptions of their conflict and potential receptivity to conflict resolution processes. Through this research it can be suggested that greater attention to the memories that people hold can be a useful tool in addressing conflict. Furthermore, the particular difference between history as an objective body of knowledge, and memory as a subjective process is explored. A framework for integrating these ideas more directly into the conflict resolution discourse is considered.