As an all-encompassing sociocultural phenomenon, memory plays an important role in various areas of social practice. The calendar of commemorations –national, religious, ethnic– seems to be ever-increasing. Remembering and forgetting are major themes in contemporary literature and art. Memory enjoys practically top billing in daily and weekly newspapers. It has become a controversial topic in politics and the public sphere (in the context of phrases such as ‘national tradition’, ‘Holocaust memory’, or ‘truth and reconciliation’). And memory even occupies us in our free time, in the form of thriving heritage industry. [Astrid Erll, Memory in Culture]


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Thirdmemory: Drawing a Distinction in Memory-making

Basically, the concept of “distinction” is not foreign to sociology. In the context of social system theory, the concept of distinction is used by Niklas Luhmann to distinguish between the system and the environment, also between the codes applied in every social system. Similarly, Jeffrey C. Alexander & Bernhard Giesen (1987) divides between micro-sociology and macro-sociology. However, the most famous distinction in sociology is structure and agency. Here, the structure is the recurrent patterned arrangements that influence or limit the choices and opportunities available, whereas agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. With this in mind, we can say that the use of the concept of distinction in social and cultural studies is not new.

Penan’s Cultural Trauma

The community map has provided a counter-narrative, and displays a historical continuity for the Penan community, whereas the PPP is the location for the politics of space in asserting the Penan’s historical discontinuity by facing deforestation. If we take time and space as a carrier of meaning, therefore the Penan community beautifully reflects the dimension of time and space via the map and the park. This is a way for the Penan community to recuperate from the cultural trauma of deforestation. Imaginatively, they have taken deforestation to another level; by doing an active remembering. In other words, they simply refuse to forget.

Kumpulan Bacaan IKMAS-PPFPM 2022

Buku ini dipilih bagi membuka kefahaman mengenai konsep masyarakat yang berasaskan sistem sosial. Meskipun terdapat beragam teori masyarakat lain, sistem sosial—pada satu tahap tertentu—mampu menawarkan konsep masyarakat yang boleh menautkan kepelbagaian yang terdapat dalam masyarakat moden. Konsepnya ini bukan sahaja meringkaskan kerumitan yang terdapat dalam masyarakat, tetapi turut berupaya untuk mengabungjalinkan pelbagai bidang menerusi perspektif yang bersifat sosiologi. Matlamat di penghujung siri ialah untuk menjawab satu persoalan pokok: “What is holding societies together?”

Melampaui Niklas Luhmann: Tanggapan buat Pak Halim

Setelah diterbitkan buku “Kehadiran Makna: Merumus Budaya Ingatan,” terbitan Penerbit UKM baru-baru ini, terdapat beberapa individu yang meminta untuk memberi ringkasan—ataupun setidaknya memberi pengenalan—mengenai alasan-alasan yang mendasari penulisan buku tersebut. Permintaan ini tentu sahaja adalah munasabah memandangkan kandungan buku ini boleh dikategori sebagai berat lantaran wacananya yang cenderung bersifat abstrak dan teori. Apatah lagi, kandungannya turut diwarnai dengan khazanah pengetahuan Jerman yang rumit, barangkali serumit sejarah negara itu sendiri. Salah seorang yang mengajukan permintaan ini datangnya daripada orang yang begitu dihormati, Pak Halim, begitulah panggilan lazim untuk Profesor Abdul Halim Ali.

Mengapa “Kehadiran Makna”?

Buku ini bertujuan untuk memberi “nyawa kedua” kepada mereka—manusia dan bukan-manusia (non-human)—yang telahpun pergi. Menerusi pengumpulan semula (recollection) dan penjelmaan kembali (re-enactment) jejak-jejak peninggalan, maka setiap yang berlaku dan berlalu boleh dimanfaatkan oleh generasi semasa. Peranan makna telah memungkinkan perkara ini. Luhmann, makna hakikatnya tidak hadir begitu sahaja. Makna boleh bergelut dengan keadaan ketiadaan makna, kehilangan makna dan ketaksampaian makna.