The last decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium have been marked by a strong focus on the past and, consequently, a proliferation of studies on memory. Perhaps this great attention to memory implies a new way of thinking and experiencing time and space, two categories that deeply changed by the phenomenon of cultural globalization. The revival of studies on memory has included large Italian earthquakes occurred in the last 150 years. Several initiatives and commemorations wanted to remember these great catastrophes of our country. What is the relationship between these initiatives and the reduction of seismic risk? What relationships are there between memory, oblivion and seismic risk? On the issue of seismic risk reduction the provocative phrase of Pierre Nora fits well: “Do we talk about memory because it no longer exists”? A. Assmann associates the idea of crisis of memory with the crisis of “living memory”, that is linked to the disappearance of the eyewitnesses of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century. When the generation who lived through L’Aquila earthquake on 6 April 2009 will disappear, the memory of the earthquake will vanish with them? To propose communication strategies capable of persisting the passage of generations, this work explores an interdisciplinary point of view, which takes into account recent studies on memory such as: subjectivity, emotion, context, time and evolution, the tension between memory and oblivion, information, memory as a construction process. Today there is no single definition of memory because memory is a dynamic process: a procedural memory, which reshapes itself according to the present. So what should we do today to develop effective risk communication strategies? Starting from the assumption of Mieke Bal that cultural memory has to be seen “as an activity that takes place in the present, in which the past is continuously modified and re-described, even when it continues to shape the future”, we can not forget that the problem of memory is always located in the relationship between those who “produce memory and those who “benefit from it”. To overcome the dichotomy between individual emotional and collective historical experience and to counteract the effect of oblivion, those involved in communication and risk reduction should move towards a constructive direction of memory, capable to enhance the past, live the present and orientate the future.

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150 years of earthquakes in italy between memory and oblivion
Which communication strategies?

Crescimbene Massimo   National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV, Italy)

La Federica   National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV, Italy)

Lanza Tiziana   National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV, Italy)

The last decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the new millennium have been marked by a strong focus on the past and, consequently, a proliferation of studies on memory. Perhaps this great attention to memory implies a new way of thinking and experiencing time and space, two categories that deeply changed by the phenomenon of cultural globalization. The revival of studies on memory has included large Italian earthquakes occurred in the last 150 years. Several initiatives and commemorations wanted to remember these great catastrophes of our country. What is the relationship between these initiatives and the reduction of seismic risk? What relationships are there between memory, oblivion and seismic risk? On the issue of seismic risk reduction the provocative phrase of Pierre Nora fits well: “Do we talk about memory because it no longer exists”? A. Assmann associates the idea of crisis of memory with the crisis of “living memory”, that is linked to the disappearance of the eyewitnesses of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century. When the generation who lived through L’Aquila earthquake on 6 April 2009 will disappear, the memory of the earthquake will vanish with them? To propose communication strategies capable of persisting the passage of generations, this work explores an interdisciplinary point of view, which takes into account recent studies on memory such as: subjectivity, emotion, context, time and evolution, the tension between memory and oblivion, information, memory as a construction process. Today there is no single definition of memory because memory is a dynamic process: a procedural memory, which reshapes itself according to the present. So what should we do today to develop effective risk communication strategies? Starting from the assumption of Mieke Bal that cultural memory has to be seen “as an activity that takes place in the present, in which the past is continuously modified and re-described, even when it continues to shape the future”, we can not forget that the problem of memory is always located in the relationship between those who “produce memory and those who “benefit from it”. To overcome the dichotomy between individual emotional and collective historical experience and to counteract the effect of oblivion, those involved in communication and risk reduction should move towards a constructive direction of memory, capable to enhance the past, live the present and orientate the future.

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