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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52419
Doc. No:TL22373
Call number:‭3345243‬
Main Entry:Shoon Lio
Title & Author:Redeeming America: The narrative constitution of American citizenship in collective memoryShoon Lio
College:University of California, Riverside
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:192
Abstract:If narratives are the stories that we construct to make sense of our world, national narratives construct citizenship and the meaning of identity. Narratives of national identity are not constructed by individuals in isolation, but rather are collectively created. This dissertation employs three case studies to examine the way in which the American story has been constructed as a narrative of redemption. The English Only movement, the two Persian Gulf Wars, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement are all cases in which collective memory has been constructed as a redemptive narrative. The English-Only movement portrays white ethnic immigrants of the past as having earned citizenship by sacrificing their native language and culture. The two Iraq Wars are depicted as having ended Vietnam Syndrome by assuring that whatever its mistakes, the lessons have been learned. The life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement are represented as having ended racism in the United States. In each case, collective memory has been re-narrated as redemptive, thus rendering American society innocent of racism, imperialism and other isms. Paradoxically, redemption occurs in the United States at the institutional level, while individuals are held accountable. Social problems are not a collective phenomenon to be blamed on the institutions of society, but have been created by individuals and their own moral failings. Therefore, collective memory delegitimizes any claims that the dynamics of power in the U.S. are complicit in causing those problems. Conservatives have re-narrated the United States' past to make it an innocent nation with a history that has moved consistently moved in the direction of progress and development. The social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and their attempts to create a participatory democracy, have been re-interpreted as a legacy of immorality, irresponsibility and nihilism that needs to be erased—a historical wrong-turn comparable to the Soviet experiment with Marxist-Leninism discredited by the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Subject:Social sciences; American political culture; Citizenship; Collective memory; Culture of redemption; English-Only; King, Martin Luther, Jr.; Persian Gulf Wars; Vietnam War/Iraq; American studies; Social research; Social structure; 0700:Social structure; 0323:American studies; 0344:Social research
Added Entry:A. Aguirre, Jr.
Added Entry:University of California, Riverside