Setting the collective memory agenda: Examining mainstream media influence on individuals’ perceptions of the past

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Memory studies scholars tend to stress the significance of the media in shaping collective memories. This study offers a quantitative–empirical examination of this phenomenon. Applying a “memory-setting” research design, inspired by agenda-setting theory, the study examines correlations between the “media memoryagenda” and “public memory-agenda,” to illuminate the influence of the media on the shaping of collective perceptions of the past. Findings point at a significant correlation between media and public memoryagendas, one that increases during periods of heightened coverage of past events. On the individual level, the role of media exposure to commemorative content is significant, surpassing that of direct participation in public commemoration. At the same time, some of the findings point to the resiliency of the public memoryagenda. Therefore, the study’s findings offer a novel understanding of the role of mass media in shaping collective memory, as well as the limits to its influence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)484-499
Number of pages16
JournalMemory Studies
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Agenda-setting
  • Collective memory
  • Commemoration
  • Israel
  • Media memory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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