Time for memory: Beyond spatial metaphors?

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This article is a continuous dialogue on memory triggered by Brockmeier's (2010) article. I drift away from the conventionalization of the archive as a spatial metaphor for memory in order to consider the greater possibility of "time" for conceptualizing memory. The concept of time is central to understanding the nature of human experience as a process in which a constant flux of change in organism, cultural and social practices is observed. Two categories of time have been explored, firstly the Aristotelian, physical time for an experimental paradigm, and secondly, the way in which we experience time in terms of autobiographical memory. The second category of time is discussed, drawing on Augustine and Bergson amongst others. Bergson's notion of duration has been considered as a promising concept for a better understanding of autobiographical memory. Psychological phenomena such as autobiographical memory should embrace not only spatial dimension, but also a temporal dimension, in which a constant flow of irreversible time, where multiplicity, momentarily, dynamic stability and becoming and emergence of novelty can be observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalCulture & Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2012


  • Augustine
  • autobiographical memory
  • Bergson
  • duration
  • time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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