Television and the collapse of memory

Hoskins, A. (2004) Television and the collapse of memory. Time and Society, 13(1), pp. 109-127. (doi: 10.1177/0961463X04040749)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


There is a certain evanescence to contemporary experience. A shortening of temporal horizons, diminishing attention spans, and a saturation of time and place, are all said to be characteristics of our mediated age. A key consequence of these ‘emerging new structures of temporality’ (Huyssen, 1995: 253) is a transformation in our relationship with the past. ‘Memory’ is in itself a contradictory experience of time as it does not involve the retrieval of some past moment but, rather, an assembling of a view of that past moment, in and from the present. The media, however, intervene in this process by often constructing a view of the world as a perpetual and pervasive present through the real time lens of television news. In this article I suggest there has occurred a ‘collapse’ in memory with reference to three pivotal media events: The 1991 Gulf War; the catastrophe of 11 September 2001; and the 2003 Iraq War, as markers of a transformation of the relationship between television, the present, and the past

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hoskins, Professor Andrew
Authors: Hoskins, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences
Journal Name:Time and Society
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1461-7463

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record