Date of this Version


Document Type

Research Report

Publication Details

Minarova-Banjac, C. (2018) Collective memory and forgetting: A theoretical discussion. Bond University: Faculty of Society and Design: Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies, February 2018, 39 pp.

Research paper series: Centre for East-West Cultural & Economic Studies; No. 16.

© C. Minarova-Banjac, 2018.


This research paper focuses on a neglected aspect of memory studies - that of collective forgetting. Collective forgetting refers to how states and citizens selectively remember, misremember, and disremember to silence and exclude alternative views and perspectives that counter the official discourse. The act of ‘forgetting’ involves deconstructing and reconstructing meanings, values, and institutions, where the dominant group produces a quasi-natural state of reality that delegitimises alternative histories and memories. As well as being an effective tool for maintaining power, it is argued that forgetting plays an important role in foreign and domestic policy as states use narratives of the past to legitimise their national identities.