14 Pages

Towards an Ethnographic Phenomenology of the Greek Spirit

The public use of history is as ancient as history itself and It exists on two levels, one scientific and academic and the other performing the everyday function of helping to create common historical knowledge. Public use is made of both individual and group memory, which is woven into history. Modem nation-states have made wide use of history as an instrument of nation building. The ideology of 'natural borders' is one of the most obvious examples in that it aims at transforming long term, complex historical processes into 'natural' phenomena. The great churches with universalistic pretensions have been able to nationalize their glories, making them integral parts of the national histories of some countries. Italian colonialism also had the characteristic of being a belated and senescent reaction to the French and British colonial empires. The historian's responsibility derives from the role that society requires history to play and the likelihood that history will be put to public use.