The first thing that came to my mind when I started writing this text wasJung’s idea of a collective unconcious. He believed that there is a collective knowledgethat is known by every human being (unconciously, of course) and is beyond ourpersonal unconcious. In this text I will present two examplesabout collective memory in Hungary and hope to get a full picture about thephenomena.
Collectivememory (Roediger & Abel, 2015) is a recollection of past events shared by agroup of people, a society or a community. According to Maurice Halbwachs (Gyáni, 2012) collective memory is a particularknowledge that is not based on the rational information, therefore it confrontsthe classical historian way. These collective memories have an impact onthe present, modify the society, influences the collectivities, the rules andthinking of the people (Basabe, 2013). Although, the studying of collectivememory had been a topic of humanities, recent researches on the common memoryhave become empirical and can be studied objectively (Roediger & Abel,2015). Collective memory could be best measured and studied through thememories of wars. National cultures have been formed, shaped and developped byinter- and transnational impacts of cultural exchange and as a result,politics, socio-economy and culture have a legacy in the European collectivememories (Spohn, 2016). Collective memory as ‘the memory of the society’ dealswith how social groups (f.
ex. a nation, certain group of people) remember,rewrite, acknowledge the past actions. The recent researches have spread intothree directions (Basabe, 2013): 1) how was the social past constructed inorder to serve the present social attitude and norms, 2) what are the factorsthat allow a society to be amnesiac and social events in the past to beforgotten in the present (the events are safe from disappearance and have a formereffect on the collective memory if they were emotionally touching, had apersonal impact on the people, happened in one’s adolescent or early adulthoodor they made changes in the society), 3) what are the factors that leadrepressed.In Hungary (Gyáni,2012) WWI and the Treaty of Trianon was/is a serious issue.
The treaty definedthe new borders of an independent Hungary. 72% of the pre-war territory and 64%of the pre-war population was lost according to the statement, moreover Hungaryhad to pay war reparations for the neighbouring countries. On the whole,Trianon has an outstanding position in the Hungarian national identity calledthe Trianon-syndrome. Politicians, mostly the extreme right-winged partymisuses this common memory and promises the people to fight for the lostterritories of the Hungarian Kingdom. Suprisingly, almost after a hundred yearsthis ‘plan’ is still working among thousands of people.According toa research (László & Fülöp, 2011) on national identity and victimhoodemotional pattern of the collective victimhood plays a main role as part of thenational identity. Collective emotions appear when our group receives positiveor negative impulses.
In this study Hungarian participants were faced withshort intergroup stories of conflicts from the Hungarian history. Half of thetime they were victims while the other half of the time they played theperpetrators. After each story the test persons had to choose two emotions froma list of emotions, one for themselves and one for their groups. The similarity,the quantity and the correlations between felt and attributed emotions werealso measured and analyzed. Consequently, collective memory isfigured by past events and the emotions we link with these acts.
Collectivitiesare part of the common sense, they are strong and change slowly, such asstereotypes and norms of a country or society. We have to control thesecollective memories so they will not do the same with us.