Materialised identities: cultural identity, collective memory, and artifacts

Richard Heersmink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This essay outlines one way to conceptualise the relation between cultural identity, collective memory, and artifacts. It starts by characterising the notion of cultural identity as our membership to cultural groups and briefly explores the relation between cultural and narrative identity (section 2). Next, it presents how human memory is conceptualised on an individual and collective level (section 3) and then distinguishes between small-scale and large-scale collective memory (section 4). Having described cultural identity and collective memory, it argues that cultural identity is materialised in the environment when we retrieve and construct collective memories by integrating information from our biological memory with information in artifacts or in other people’s embodied brains (section 5). This essay ends with analysing how materialised cultural identities are constructed by using a niche construction approach from evolutionary biology (section 6).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalReview of Philosophy and Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

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