Collective memory is the realisation of the past in the form of contemporary experience, a social construct formed in economic, social, cultural, political, and ideological frameworks. This paper examines the way intractable conflict is constructed by the transmission of memories from generations with lived experience of the conflict, and the personal experiences that the current generation has of contemporary events. Additionally, it explores the ways in which the political leaderships in both communities attempt to influence young Cypriots’ conceptual framing of themselves and their imaginary other. Using a qualitative framework, a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews was conducted with individual Greek and Turkish Cypriots as the basis for an empirical exploration of their relationship to the events of the 1974 war and the subsequent division of the island. Through a critical review of the extant literature combined with the empirical findings of this paper, a new concept is proposed, that of ‘meta-memory’. The concept refers to transmitted experiences combined with experiences occurred at a later stage or in succession of the initial conflict; it is a direct collection and accumulation of experiences from an ongoing conflict that affects current generations’ lives in the present. The concept has wide applicability to conflict situations around the world since it offers a theoretical paradigm which can shed light into aspects of ongoing/intractable conflict that remain unexamined and/or neglected.
collective memory, meta-memory, conflict, transmitted experiences of conflict
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