Theodicy and the Problem of Evil

Again, the deception is that we can get away with it and that we will be not be me and my family and my Lord, I honestly believe I never would have done it.'”.

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In other words there are as many forms of representing space as there are groups. Thus for instance a church is not simply a place for the religious community to gather, but a space whose division and internal arrangement meets the needs of worship. Interestingly Halbwachs does not consider this delineation of space to be a memory work, which is always a non-recurrent action linked to the birth of the group: the formation of the spatial framework, i.

For Halbwachs it is more important to show that the structure of space is consubstantial with the structure of society, and consequently every group clings to the place in which it lives, to which it is bound by its memory, which is a condition for its very existence. Space as a material environment made into a system of connected places. Halbwachs places the emphasis on materiality. Every collective representation has a material aspect, which takes on the aura of sanctity. At the same time the material dimension may point beyond the visual presence, insofar as it provides to the group an intangible permanence, a sense of stability.

Space alone is stable to endure without growing old or losing any of its parts. In his last work, dealing with the context of the holy places of the Christian tradition in Palestine,17 he argues that the Christian religion had to place in space its own idealogical truths, in order to invest them with the reality of the past. Furthermore, he explains the exceptional success of Christianity with the rivalry of the sects jostling for space in the symbolic universe of the time with the fact that it located itself in the radically diferent religious-social reality surrounding it: in order to legitimize 15 This is true of time as well.

Lewis A. We might even say that it bound its religious ideas to existing places.


The image had to adjust itself to beliefs, not to real places. The Christians of Jerusalem, had they been left alone, without the help of other Christian communities, would have found it increasingly diicult to replace evangelical history in an entirely transformed local framework. Although the memory of these events was at risk of disappearing, the Church replaced that same history in a made-to-measure dogmatic framework in which the most vivid beliefs of contemporary society could be expressed.

Jerusalem is a theatre where the Passion is played out. In his study Between Memory and History Nora writes that while previously memory had milieu, today it has only lieux. He refers to Halbwachs also when he states that the memory communities in whose collective memory the individuals could have a place, in whose framework they could localize their memories, have now broken up.

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Nora interprets this change as the division of history and memory. The former has ceased, and the role of the latter is to make accessible the past that has fallen away from the present, by traces and transmissions there being no other means.

Nora sees the reasons for this in the uncertainty due to the all-penetrating experience of change in the present become continuous which he terms the acceleration of history and in the process of emancipation which guarantees every real or ideological grouping the right to own an independent past. The result is depressing: in the now uncertain present the future becomes unpredictable, so the hand-holds with which certain aspects of the past become worthy of keeping are lost.

According to Nora, this is the source of our desperate attempt to record and collect everything possible which, as past, contrasts with the present. Thus the spontaneous working of lived-through memory becomes the conscious compulsion to conserve heritage: heritagization. This latter is the equivalent of the transformation of memory into heritage: it is no longer a lived-through memory, but a consciously archived one. The historian, indeed, mourns national history. Naturally, never perfectly. Nora writes that the collective identity of the nation was constructed in this dual register, and the task of the state was to watch over their balance.

Jamais parfaitement, bien entendu. Les France. This emphatically French historiography functions in a national framework, more precisely it aimed to reappropriate the national framework, so it is no coincidence that its adoption internationally has not been automatic: The publication of the German Realms of Memory was preceded by scepticism K. This concept, which at once has the meaning of a realm of memory and that of a monument, relates to the material or ideological places where history and memory run crosswise to one another and meet.

But they are also self-referential in the sense that we have seen with Halbwachs: lieux de memoire, or the sacred sites of Christianity, are the forms of representation of the collective memory of the group, and tradition itself supplies them with meaning and thus makes them sacred places. La Nation, vol. There is a diferentiated network to which all of these separate identities belong, an unconscious organization of collective memory that it is our responsibility to bring to consciousness.

Nevertheless, perhaps in spite of his intention, in a certain sense this proved his theory. As Edward Said has shown,33 the now constant social polemics around the object and form of remembrance and commemoration in the widest variety of disciplines is evidence that the art of remembrance is simply not at the disposal of the modern world, but has become an object of abuse and exploitation. He emphasizes that we must think of geography as a notion socially constructed and maintained, which in tandem with the remembering seen after Hobsbawm and Ranger34 as invention, is capable of a vast range of power manipulations.

The order which in the classical tradition was the structure of a building, and for Halbwachs is provided by the ideological unity of Christian dogma, is subject to constant rearrangement. The process of locating memories thus becomes the stake for political and power games.

What is called spontaneous memory is nothing other than the presence of the past, and thus not the past, which always presumes some break, in order to enter into a relationship with it, and thereby be able to talk at all about memory. Gillis goes so far as to say that today everyone is their own historian. This democratization of the past, he notes, annoys certain professionals, who still write in the national tradition, though in everyday life national history is no longer an accurate benchmark of what we know and what we actually use from the past.

An examination of the practices which reconstruct the past has the further advantage of making the historical and local-cultural variety of various mnemotechniques an object of enquiry. The notion of a culture of remembrance41 is suitable for encompassing the variety of 36 See for instance John R.

Gillis ed. The spatial arrangement of the individual exhibits as symbols is perhaps even more striking in the case of an exhibition than it is in a series of volumes containing scholarly studies. Yet the issue of arrangement arises in both cases. The cultural practices of remembrance have the paradox that while they hold the promise of providing survival strategies for the fear of and danger of forgetting, these very strategies, such as musealization, are subject to constant change. Thus reconstructed pasts are always doubtful. The relationship to the past has become global, which in respect to the change of temporal structure mentioned above means that the models of representation of the past, the procedures for managing it and political actions in the name of the past show considerable similarities, regardless of their geographical location.

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Another feature of the globalization of memory is the appearance and operation of public space disregarding national borders. A typical actor in this space is the witness and the victim, sometimes both at once, who speaks in the name of those who have sufered grave losses and injuries in the recent past during wars, genocide, violent resettlement of population, dictatorships and colonial oppression.

In this line of thought, remembrance per se is good, since it makes it possible to avoid repeating the tragedies traumas of the past. In this space characterized by presentism 45 the new form of political action aims to make people aware of crimes committed in the past and to win recognition of the losses sufered. The politics of memory conducted also performs the existence and as a collective in the public sphere of those in whose name it speaks so much for identity politics, then. The memory of the Holocaust has shaped new forms and models of organizing the relationship to the past, which historically are as much without precedent as the historical event itself was.

The title refers both to the abuse of memory and to the exaggeration of remembrance. The appropriate remembrance as opposed to the inappropriate or damaging forms thereof is held by Todorov to be exemplary remembrance, and by Ricoeur to be memory work. Whose Victimhood? On the other hand the practices of remembrance have become localized, that is in their use they take new forms, they may alter, create or take on new meanings.

Part of the culture of remembrance is the uses of tools made accessible by technological change, the interpretative schemes and various techniques for visualization of the past, from commemorations through museums to personal testimony. At the same time instead of the techniques performing the spatial arrangement of memory we investigate the techniques of memory performing the spatial arrangement.

Thus the problem of places arises as a question of procedures of spatial representation. Questioning the previously self- evident relationship between the places of memory and the memories has several theoretical consequences. In examining cultural representation the emphasis shifts from the represented reality to the method of representation, to the power relations in which it is realized, and at the same time to the representer themselves.

In what follows I shall review the main theoretical approaches dealing with the practices of the cultural representation of space.

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Now I shall focus on the practices which are responsible for the relationship between the two factors. In every case it can be said of spatial practices that they have a role in constructing identity: they spatialize cultural otherness and sameness. Behind the growing relativization of places is the now everyday experience that on our planet, spatial location and social interaction do not always coincide.

Salman Rushdie takes up L. Halbwachs too writes of the creative nature of religious imagination,50 when he compares the relationship to holy places of the crusaders arriving from the West and the Christians living in Palestine. Thus the highly telling fact that the crusaders who found the city of the Passion altered details contradicting, missing, confusing but in any ways mismatching to their religious imagination erecting buildings or altering the material environment in some way is put down by Halbwachs as a disturbing circumstance, which makes it more diicult to distinguish between real places and those borne of the imagination.

The East always plays the role of alterego and origin. Said, Orientalism, The discovery and learning about the blank patches on the map, that is, the discursive creation of the East, means the extending of dominion.

The pilgrim looks at the text, not the landscape, or more precisely the landscape as a topos becomes the embodiment of the text. Michel J. The product of the practices of triumphalist geography is the modern, static and ahistorical map, which according to Shapiro however is in need of supplementary legitimacy. There is more at stake than just certain things not being shown on the map. Shapiro reminds us that in the history of the occupation of North America there was an initial period when the conquerors recognized the native peoples of the continent as a nation, by right of their own use of territory.

Self and Identity as Memory

They engaged in diplomatic relations, they made alliances, they battled with them, but in any case they viewed them as a collective factor in American foreign policy. From this point on, through the agency of various methods of producing knowledge including American anthropology the Native American peoples gradually became a problem of domestic policy. In other words, the national borders within the North American continent were abolished. Naturally, a critique of the territorial notion of culture, society and the nation, and the issue of related spatial practices, arises not only in the case the geography of regions subject to actual colonial domination.

For instance, to how the discourse of cultural anthropology presents the native as subject. The practice typical of the discipline can be characterized by a sexless, colourless and sexually inactive subject engaging in interaction with their interlocutors. Another reason is the recognition that the construction of places and the relationship with them requires constant work.

Underpinning this statement is the simple and everyday experience that over their life, or at a given time, a person can feel attachment to several places at once. Although the social investment which plays a role in the competitive and organized production of places is visible primarily in the geographical distance which separates the one carrying out the representational practices from the geographical places to which their work relates, it can hardly be said that staying in one place, the continuous maintaining of a place as place, lacks continuous care and work.

The spatial forms of places and the non-places non-lieux represent two poles of a single continuum, and a good example of this is the diference in the relationship to each of them. While they are linked to the anthropological place by communal attachment, seen as natural and self-evident, to the non-places the link is individual, temporary and contractual.

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On the one hand, on the illusion of indigenous peoples of their rootedness by birth since time immemorial in the untouched homeland soil, beyond which nothing is conceivable; on the other hand on the illusion of enthnologists in which society is completely transparent to itself, so much so that its completeness is expressed in the smallest of its practices and institutions. The interesting thing is the real basis for the dual illusion, i. The result of this construction is an identical, relational and historical place. What was evident for Halbwachs, namely that every society constructs its own space, hereby arises as a problem.

In this spirit Appadurai urges the rereading of the scholarly literature of anthropology, and the investigation of the production of locality. In contrast to this he retains the concept of neighbourhood for the concrete spatial be it virtual or material forms of communal life, in which locality may variously appear as a dimension or value.

Appadurai captures the relationship of locality and neighbourhood with the notion of context. He establishes two basic relations, one of which we can call context-generative, the other context-dependence.