Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies



Memory Studies Group

Memory studies is an emergent field of research which is primarily concerned with the ways in which relationships between the past and present are articulated in various domains of experience, from personal life narratives to public forms of commemoration.

The Memory Studies Group is an interdisciplinary collective of scholars working within the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. Our backgrounds are in media and cultural studies, social psychology, and sociology. As a group we share an interest in the ways in which the past is mediated in the present through public and private discourses, media representations, social practices, and cultural forms.

In our work we explore the contingencies of knowledge about the past and examine the ways in which the past, present, and future are reciprocally constitutive domains of experience. We are particularly concerned the politics of memory, from the everyday articulations of identity that remembering involves, to the rhetorical use of the past in national public narratives.

Research themes and topics that the group are currently exploring include:

  • Uses of media in everyday remembering
  • Nostalgia
  • Memory and imagination
  • Trauma and painful remembering
  • Commodification of memory
  • The collective basis of memory
  • Comparative analysis of national memory
  • Memory and borders
  • Crime and memory
  • Memory and social movements
  • Memory and methodology
  • Temporalities of modernity
  • Memory and textual realities (Memory and text)
  • Memory and social change
  • The social construction of controversial pasts
  • Post-communist memory


  • Susan Condor is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. She is interested in the ways in which memory is implicated in collective identity, and in the specific understandings of historical events and process which underpin competing political ideologies.  Recently-published work includes an analysis of historical narratives in British political rhetoric supporting and opposing multicultural policies, and an analysis of competing understandings of the British Empire in debates about "national identity" in the context of UK constitutional change.  She is  a UK national coordinator of the EU COST Action Centre, Social Psychological Dynamics of Historical Representations in the Enlarged European Union.

  • Emily Keightley is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. She has published in relation to both conceptual and methodological issues in memory studies. This includes ‘‘Remembering Research: Memory and Methodology in the Social Sciences’ (International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 2010) and ‘Trauma, Discourse and Communicative Limits’ (Critical Discourse Studies, 2009, with Michael Pickering). Her book with Michael Pickering, The Mnemonic Imagination, explores and re-conceives the relationship between memory and imagination. She has also edited a collection of essays on the mediation of time in modernity.
  • Sabina Mihelj is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. Her research interests include identity and communication, nationalism studies, comparative media research, Eastern European media and Cold War culture. She is the author of Media Nations: Communicating Belonging and Exclusion in the Modern World (Palgrave, 2011), co-editor of Central and Eastern European Media in Comparative Perspective (Ashgate, 2012, with J Downey) and has published a wide range of journal articles and book chapters. Her research on memory deals with television memory, post-communist memory, and methodological issues in memory research.
  • Michael Pickering is Emeritus Professor of Media and Cultural Analysis in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. He has published in cultural studies and the sociology of culture, media and communication studies, and social and cultural history. His recent books include History, Experience and Cultural Studies (1997); Researching Communications (1999/2007), co-written with David Deacon, Peter Golding and Graham Murdock; Stereotyping: The Politics of Representation (2001); Creativity, Communication and Cultural Value (2004), co-written with Keith Negus; Beyond a Joke: The Limits of Humour (2005), co-edited with Sharon Lockyer; Blackface Minstrelsy in Britain (2008), Research Methods for Cultural Studies (2008), Popular Culture, a four-volume edited collection (2010), and The Mnemonic Imagination (2012), co-written with Emily Keightley. Rhythms of Labour:The History of Music at Work in Britain, co-written with Marek Korczynski and Emma Robertson, will appear in May 2013, published by Cambridge University Press.
  • Cristian Tileaga is Lecturer in Social Psychology and member of the Discourse and Rhetoric Group in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. He has a broad interest in memory and social change, memory and text, and the social construction of individual and collective controversial pasts. He has explored the social construction of the communist/post-communist past in talk and text by examining national commemorations, news interviews, government reports, individual accounts of past wrongdoing.  Some of the findings from this research project have been published in journals such as Memory Studies, British Journal of Social Psychology, Discourse & Society, Culture & Psychology. He is the author of Discourse Analysis and Reconciliation with the Recent Past (2012, Romanian) and Political Psychology: Critical Perspectives (in press, Cambridge University Press). He is co-author on two forthcoming book projects: an edited collection, Psychology and History: Interdisciplinary Explorations (with Jovan Byford, Open University) and Discursive Psychology: Classic and Contemporary Issues (with Elizabeth Stokoe, Loughborough).
  • Robert Knight is Senior Lecturer in International History in the Department of Politics, History and International Relations. His research interests include commemoration and restitution in post-Nazi Austria, ethnic politics in Carinthia and Cold War memories of the Yalta Conference. Among his recent relevant publications are an edited collection on Ethnicity, Nationalism and the European Cold War (Continuum,  2012); ‘Transnational Memory from Bleiburg to London (via Buenos Aires and Grozny)’ (Zeitgeschichte, 2009); ‘Denazification and Integration in the Austrian Province of Carinthia’ (Journal of Modern History, 2008); ‘The Road from the Taborstrasse: Austrian Restitution Revisited’, Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute, 2006). He has recently started a project using oral histories for teaching  the history of the Cold War.

Research Students

  • Pawas Bisht
  • Georgie Payne
  • Alena Pfoser

Media of Remembering project. Emily Keightley and Michael Pickering. 2010-2013.

'Media of Remembering: Photography and Phonography in Everyday Remembering' is a three year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The project investigates the everyday ways in which people remember and how photography and recorded music are involved in these processes, using a multi-method approach. We are exploring the similarities and differences in the two media’s uses as vehicles of memory and their meaning and significance in different social and cultural contexts. We are also considering the wide variation in the ways people remember and the roles which memories perform in everyday life. 

The project aims to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between individual memory and its social and cultural contexts, bringing the personal and collective dimensions of remembering into view of one another.

Screening Socialism: Popular Television and Everyday Life in Socialist Eastern Europe. Dr Sabina Mihelj. 2013-2016.

Screening Socialism is an innovative research project which explores the culture of television in socialist Eastern Europe. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the project spans five countries and is the first comparative, transnational study of television in Eastern Europe. Screening Socialism will draw on archival documents, narrative analysis of popular television shows, and interviews, in order to investigate the role of television in everyday life, the changing messages it disseminated to the public, the elite’s shifting relationship to the medium, as well as the part it has played in shaping public memory of the socialist period. The project will culminate in a number of journal articles, conference papers, and two monographs on television in Eastern Europe.

Click here for the project website.

Cold War Eyewitnesses. Dr Robert Knight. 2011-ongoing

The starting-point for this oral history project was the realisation that memories of the Cold War are at a point of transition. As a short hand this can be labelled the shift from ‘communicative’ to ‘cultural ‘ memory, at the same time the project  also aims to scrutinise the way we conceptualise memory and its relationship to history. Following the grant of a Loughborough University teaching innovation award appeals went out via local radio, alumni associations and other networks for eyewitnesses who would be prepared to talk to students and be interviewed about their experiences of the Cold War. The responses have shed light on the complex interactions between individual life histories and memories of the high politics of the Cold War; speakers so far have included migrants (from Poland and the Ukrainian), technicians and engineers, combatants (national servicemen, counter-intelligence operatives, bomber pilots) and Cold War mediators (business people in Eastern Europe).

Click here for more information.


A new book by Michael Pickering and Emily Keightley - Photography, Music and Memory Pieces of the Past in Everyday Life is due October 2015

Michael Pickering is Emeritus Professor in the Social Sciences department at Loughborough University, UK. He has published in the areas of media and cultural history, sociology of culture, music studies and memory studies.

Emily Keightley is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, UK. Her research interests include the mediation of memory, time and everyday life. She has published on topics which include everyday memory, mediated mobility, memory and methodology, generational transmission and painful pasts.

For more information and to download a flyer click here.