By Duncan Bell (eds.)

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Extra resources for Memory, Trauma and World Politics: Reflections on the Relationship Between Past and Present

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31 Now this was in a sense the final victory of the Portuguese over the Romans, a victory which made it possible for Camões to find his place side by side with the other heroes of the discoveries. But the same textual tactics of assimilation could be used in cultural comparisons as well.

This skepticism extends beyond induction into the realm of subjectivity and identity. ‘I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind’, writes Hume, ‘that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in perpetual flux and movement’. Out of this ‘memory not only discovers the identity, but also contributes to its production, by producing the relation of resemblance among the perceptions’. 7 Mankind would thus be at loss in the absence of a memory that can break down the chaotic totality of perceptions into individual bundles and arrange 36 Jens Bartelson these in patterns according to the principles of resemblance and causation.

And this, he reminds us, should Introduction: Memory, Trauma and World Politics 17 come as little surprise given the extent to which collective identities ‘are always complex compositions of myth, memory, and political convenience’. 75 Conflict rather than harmony seems likely to determine the contours of future mnemonic politics. The pressing issue will be to channel such conflict away from violence into more peacable forms of human interaction, something that has all too frequently proved impossible to achieve.

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