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The Habitual Body and its Role in Collective Memory Formation

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In recent decades many facets of habitual body memory have been explored in ever greater depth in the field of phenomenological research. As a result, one can regard this type of memory as an important exemplification of the strong embodiment thesis, i.e. the thesis that the body plays not only a causal but also a constitutive role with regard to (at least some) cognitive processes. However, it is still an open research question how, in particular, to evaluate the significance of the habitual body for the creation of collective memories. Especially when it comes to externalized symbolically-mediated and distributed forms of memory, some theorists think that the habitual body no longer plays a decisive role in scaffolding collective memories. In the present paper, I assess this assumption in more detail. I argue that habitual body memory and skill-based behaviour fulfil indispensable functions in the creation and maintenance of symbolically-based cultural niches and collective memory systems.
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Keywords: collective memory formation; cultural niches; exograms; habitual body; strong embodiment thesis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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