Friday, June 30, 2006

Memory Practices in the Sciences: First Thoughts, First 40 pages

It’s eccentrically organized, and given the subject matter, I’m trying to decide whether or not it’s done on purpose. Bowker develops the concept of memory having close links, or even a foundation in the ability to categorize information (8-9), as well as other disguised memory practices that are not “an act of consciousness” that consist of what can be “called to mind”. Without giving him too much credit before finishing the book, I am circumspect that he is using an unorthodox organization that defies normal categorization in order to engage the concept of memory from a fresh perspective. Hopefully the following chapters will provide better insight into that thought.

Bowker also points out a difference in linear and categorical memory that I am hoping he further develops in the following chapters, most likely chapter 3. He compares different modes of data and information storage in object oriented programming (linear) and relational database storage (categorical) that he needs to develop further (29-30). He alludes to a change in western ontological thought processes, but then drops the topic entirely for other discussion.

Another interesting point that I’ll be waiting for in the following chapters is the consideration given to large-scale memory suppression. That is, a history of a nation or other population being shaped by a course of events that are important for its development, but are later forgotten in order to camouflage an unwanted past. A good example is probably the Armenian Genocide. He briefly speaks of science in the modern (postmodern?) age being readily used to remember and exploit past memories that some would prefer forgotten.

It’s definitely a dense read, as was referenced in the original post, but the book has real potential to develop a multitude of interesting ideas.

1 comment:

k8 said...

I, too, am interested in seeing how he develops this approach to memory, particularly since both issues come up in literacy studies and rhetoric - memoria is one of the five canons of rhetoric, ya know ;-)