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Communication and collective memory: The plight of oral traditions in Cte d'Ivoire

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A people must face the issue of the perpetuation of its history as well as its values, permitting it to maintain the link with the following generations. As in most of sub-Saharan Africa, the medium of communication and the functioning mechanisms that permitted Ivorians to safeguard and transmit their culture has, until recent times, been the oral tradition. This has served as the vehicle of collective memory, but today, this tradition is rapidly eroding. Based on ethnographic work with three different ethnic groups in Cte d'Ivoire, this text explores the key elements and functions of the oral tradition. Given that the survival of a people is strongly dependent on its capacity to transmit its culture and identity to new generations, the situation is critical. However, it is also argued that modern media technologies can be put to use in order to document and catalogue much of the collective memory that still remains among the older generations.
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Keywords: collective memory; globalization; identity; oral sources; oral traditions; patrimony

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Cocody.

Publication date: 01 March 2011

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