Cultural Memory as a Basis of the Social Wellbeing


In the article the author considers cultural memory as a basis of the social wellbeing. Two concepts "cultural memory" and "social wellbeing", features of their interrelation, and also influence of the person on the cultural memory formation are investigated. Modern conditions offer modern solutions. We should remember on the one hand to be proud and to have wish for further development, on the other hand to draw some conclusions also for further development. In this case we could actively use the Internet possibilities and other modern technologies. By means of modern technology we have a big range of opportunities to help people not only in the financial sphere but also in the cultural one. It can give the chance to people not to feel alone in this world. So it means they can feel comfortable within their country, within the instability world. It is the aim of the most wellbeing programs.

Keywords: Cultural memorysocial wellbeingrelations


Socially shared versions of history, concepts of identity, values and norms, stereotypes, and prejudices as well as certain behavior modes are usually formed in long historical processes and become part of a “cultural memory” (Erll, 2010). The relevance and the importance of regulation of social and economic processes in the region and the problem solution of increasing dynamics of social wellbeing of the population sharply increases during the periods of difficult, crisis social and economic situations. Russia as well as the whole world also feels this nowadays. In the conditions of the instability which caused by world financial, ecological and political crisis, it is demanded a need of search of the ways conducting to social wellbeing of society. In this regard it is extremely important to pay attention to the development of the cultural relations, to the formation of cultural memory. Thus, it is possible to call a research objective studying of such concepts as "cultural memory" and "social wellbeing", their interrelation and the extent of the influence of cultural memory on the social wellbeing of society.

The modern idea of the social wellbeing

Social wellbeing, its components were considered by many scientists in Russia and abroad. Almost all of them connect the social wellbeing not only with material, but also with cultural wealth.

"The standard of living and the assessment of welfare based on statistical indicators traditionally are considered to be the main characteristic of the efficiency of the social and economic policy. However they unilaterally reflect the social state and the results of the economic and social policy. Increase of the public welfare is considered now as the growth of the consumption of the material benefits by the population. These requirements are often artificially imposed and reflected in the corresponding indicators of the economic growth" (Golikov, 2008). More authentically a real situation is reflected by an assessment of the social wellbeing. Social wellbeing represents an individual judgment of the satisfaction degree of their material and cultural needs. In the other words, social wellbeing is a judgment of a living standard and a level of social health of society.

Social wellbeing is shown in a wide dynamic system of the social communications, with existence of the positive interpersonal relations in the form of friendship, love. In the western psychology the concept “wellbeing” is defined in the broadest sense as "the multiple-factor construct representing difficult interrelation of cultural, social, psychological, physical and economic factors" (Psychology of communication. Encyclopedic dictionary, 2011).

Modern processes

Last decades in Russia, as well as around the world, conditions and a way of life sharply changed. Behavior styles of the society and ways of activity changed, too. In this regard it is extremely actual for people to find the stabilizing mechanisms that will regulate the public processes and also promote the growth of social wellbeing of the population. However it would be very imprudent to carry out this search only in the field of optimization of political, administrative and financial regulators of the public relations. They, unfortunately, don't consider deep sources of society stability, - mentality, culture, national character and many other things. And after all they can provide dynamic the stability of the social development. On the contrary, the attempt of planting of foreign culture, change of social norms can be destructive for the cultural memory of society and become a source of destabilizing impact on policy and national economy.

The concept of the cultural memory

It is necessary to find out how cultural memory can become a basis for stability and social wellbeing in society. For this purpose the concept "cultural memory" should be considered. Research of memory has an interdisciplinary character. In sociology memory is considered from the positions of the existence of the collective representations. Under the influence of E. Durkheim's theoretical and methodological ideas the French scientist M. Halbwaks introduced the term "collective memory" in 1925. The successor of ideas of E. Durkheim was L. Lévy-Bruhl. Communication of the social memory with daily occurrence was analyzed by A. Schütz, E. Giddens, P. Bourdieu, N. Luman, P. Berger and T. Luckmann. When speaking about the concept “cultural memory”, it should take as a basis the idea of J. Assmann (2010). At the end of the twentieth century the German Egyptologist J. Assmann presented a theory of cultural memory, which outlined the objectives of its study in this scientific field as "history of memory" (Erll, 2010). The Assmann’s concept, which is in many aspects indebted to Halbwachs’s findings, is grounded in the fundamental insight that there is a qualitative difference between a collective memory that is based on forms of everyday communication (such as we would find it among families and friends) and a collective memory that is more institutionalized and rests on symbolic cultural objectivations (such as we usually find at the national level). In response, they differentiate between two “memory frameworks”: communicative memory on the one hand and the Cultural Memory on the other (Assmann, 2010).

"Manifestation of phenomena of cultural memory is closely connected with the cultural development" (Mekaeva, 2011). In this regard the idea of the cultural memory has got not only individual, but also collective character. Researches of the collective memory in cultural aspect were conducted by A. Mol, J. Assmann, P. Hutton.

The corner of the consideration of the concept of "cultural memory" is different one in different sciences. The sociology addresses to the social and cultural memory not only through development of the theoretical approaches, but also through a prism of applied sociological researches, analyzing a place of the separate historical events or characters, and also considering memory from the positions of the existence of the collective representations.

The social psychology marks out psychological features of reflection of the social phenomena in individual and collective memory.

In cultural science the memory is considered to be the cultural memory with the features of the collective character.

In historical science regularities of the preservation of past events in memory, the address to them is a result of political acts or need for social self-determination of the separate groups and the segments of the population.

Despite various points of view, these sciences use the general theoretic-methodological bases such as: the comparative analysis that allows comparing various country and temporary contexts to reveal mutual influence of social reality and activity of the person.

Cultural memory in action

"In the process of the formation the cultural memory passes stages of a habitualization, typification and replacement of social and cultural information in area of the unconscious. At the first stage there is a selection and an accumulation of the socially significant information. At the typification stage the practices that are constantly repeated and become habitual are typified in cultural memory in the form of customs, traditions which in a situation of uncertainty work automatically. At the third stage there is a replenishment of unconscious area of the cultural memory by the gained experience (archetypes)" (Batomunkueva, 2004).

Depending on the valuable installations of the individuals and the stages of life cycle of the social systems the functional elements of the memory can fix and reproduce information both - of stabilizing and destabilizing value. It depends on the one who tries to influence the formation of cultural memory: politicians or scientists.

Thus, the government, mass media, civil associations, the mass culture and other forces move the memory policy. They introduce the amendments in those events which are important for a political victory.

The increasing mobility of this process causes according to Zh. Bodrijjar (1995), "disturbing and curious thirst for the roots in a person" hidden in the depths of the memory and arising on a surface of the actual life while there is an act of a valuable and semantic reconstruction of the past in the present (Loyko, 2013).

E. Durkheim claimed that social wellbeing is the best social system based on social solidarity, existing thanks to the universal recognition and realization of the social facts. The social facts - norms, ideas and the values that are developed by the collective consciousness of people - are cornerstone of a social order which was considered by E. Durkheim as the main condition of the social wellbeing. On the basis of the general realization of the social facts "public solidarity" is the base of the best social system. It exists until members of the society recognize the importance of the social facts and are guided by them in the life. When the individual doesn't wish to follow the general norms, there is an anomy which can become the result of sharp change in the social structure, lead to disintegration of society and social chaos (Erll, 2010).

Investigating the memory, it is possible to see how "past" is created or it is recreated in the sociocultural aspect, what influence the interpretation of last events has (Bodrijjar, 1995).

Now the culture being considered as the universal way of creation, transfer and a reconstruction of the valuable and semantic chronotope needs the social and cultural memory, as peculiar axiological directing, capable to give the importance to the present facts, to restore the true value of past events and to anticipate the importance of the future (Loyko, 2013).


Based on the above results of the research of the nature of cultural memory, it is obviously possible to define cultural memory as secondary reality, "an internal core" of societies which works as a stabilizing factor in processes of public changes, being a basis of social wellbeing of society. By means of modern technology we have a big range of opportunities to help people not only in the financial sphere but also in the cultural one. It can give the chance to people not to feel alone in this world. So it means they can feel comfortable within their country, within the instability world. It is the aim of the most wellbeing programs.


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17 January 2017

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Chicherina,  . V., & Tolkacheva, V. A. (2017). Cultural Memory as a Basis of the Social Wellbeing. In F. Casati, G. А. Barysheva, & W. Krieger (Eds.), Lifelong Wellbeing in the World - WELLSO 2016, vol 19. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 683-687). Future Academy.