chapter  6
Popular memory: theory, politics, method
Pages 48

In this article we explore an approach to history-writing which involves becoming 'historians of the present too'. It is important to stress 'explore'. We do not have a completed project in 'popular memory' to report. We summarize and develop discussions which were intended as an initial clarification. These discussions had three main starting-points. First, we were interested in the limits and contradictions of academic history where links were attempted with a popular socialist or feminist politics. Our main example here was 'oral history', a practice that seemed nearest to our own preoccupations. Second, we were attracted to projects which moved in the direction indicated by these initial criticisms. These included experiments in popular autobiography and in community-based history, but also some critical developments with a base in cultural studies or academic historiography. Third, we tried, as in the case of all the articles in this book, to relate problems of historywriting to more abstract debates which suggested possible clarifications.