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ERIC Number: EJ893854
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7732
The Durability of Collective Memory: Reconciling the "Greensboro Massacre"
Cunningham, David; Nugent, Colleen; Slodden, Caitlin
Social Forces, v88 n4 p1517-1542 Jun 2010
While the general dynamics governing collective memory processes are well developed theoretically, our tool kit for systematically assessing how collective memory changes over time remains limited. Here, we focus on a particular tragic event--the killing of five participants in an anti-KKK march in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Nov. 3, 1979--to assess continuity and change across accounts presented as part of a 1980 federally-sponsored investigation and a 2005 truth and reconciliation commission. Specifically, we employ a block modeling methodology to describe the structure of narrative themes shared across multiple accounts in each time period. We then analyze the sources of temporal variation in these narratives, and show how shifts in the range of actors participating in the 1980 and 2005 initiatives, as well as the institutional contexts within which accounts were offered, shaped how themes were strategically deployed to increase the resonance of specific positions. We find that, in the Greensboro case, the contours of these demographic and institutional dimensions resulted in a decrease in the polarization of competing narratives and an increased emphasis on key themes that contested elite "institutional" accounts. (Contains 4 tables, 3 figures and 7 notes.)
University of North Carolina Press. 116 South Boundary Street, P.O. Box 2288, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2288. Tel: 800-848-6224; Tel: 919-966-7449; Fax: 919-962-2704; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina