Tagged: social memory

Social Memory and National Culture

Another systems/concept/relational map for the week!

Last week I took a stab looking at the components of personal sense of national identity. This week, I’m taking a stab at national culture – a subtle difference from “identity” – an “identity” sometimes assume a stable grouping of concepts and ways-of-life; I use the word “culture” because its more fluid, more flexible. A culture is stable, but also allows for change too. Without getting too caught up in the definitions, the map below:


With this map, I’m half-guessing that creativity turns out to be an important contributor to culture. Creativity is the basis for new cultural artefacts and practices. All of these feed into social memory – the collective set of experiences that are transmitted into subsequent generations. And people forget, or pass on, and leave with their memories. Projects to preserve these social memories are underrated – they are extremely important in helping the living to judge for themselves what to keep and what to lay aside.

There are two things that might seem to be jarring – why are “power-distance relations” and “socio-economic categories” placed here as well? I put them here because they also determine our social practices. The categories that we use in our minds and project them into society matters as much as the artefacts that we produce. These social practices also determine the culture – how do people deal with difference/diversity? How do people deal with authority?

Announcing a New Series: The Things We Inherit

After the “Hope” and “Fear” posts, I feel that I’ve plateaued in terms of exploring organizations and indicators. Also, the recent posts have been more applied than theoretical. I feel that I haven’t explored the whole topic sufficiently, but at the same time, I do feel a sense of declining marginal returns. So I’m moving on to an adjacent topic, by focusing on The Things We Inherit – looking at the cultural attitudes that we have been given by previous generations, and thinking about how things today are the way they are. Don’t expect long historical essays – but they will be quite historical in nature. With this series of posts, I’ll also need a lot of help from students of Singapore History – there’s still a lot I don’t know – and I’m particularly interested in social history – not the Big Man, Big Politics sort of, but the more mundane type of history. If anyone can point me towards online resources, I’ll be more than grateful.

And then maybe I’ll return to thinking about Singapore’s future after this.

Have a happy weekend!