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Authors: Castelli, V. 
Title: Lest we forget. A preliminary map of collective earthquake rituals of Italy
Issue Date: 2006
Keywords: MAP
Subject Classification05. General::05.09. Miscellaneous::05.09.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: Fear and the need for reassurance - feelings as old as humankind – find cultural expression in countless visible ways: beliefs and behaviour patterns, rules and rituals, good and bad habits. However, there is also an invisible “non-way” to express them, by dismissing from the mind and forgetting as soon as possible whatever it was that made us afraid and needing reassurance. In the case of communities living in “earthquake country” this kind of reaction does seems a predictable, indeed almost an obligated one: how could people go on living in places that were repeatedly and tragically affected by seismic disasters, unless by getting used quickly to forget the worst of their past sufferings? But is the tendency to remove and forget an hereditary trait of humankind, or the results of specific stimuli (more likely to occur in some social environments than in others)? The traditional popular culture of Italy, as outlined by the preliminary results of a survey of collective rituals connected with earthquakes, appears to have been much keener on remembering past disasters than on removing their memory: so keen, in fact, that it still does preserve the memory of earthquakes that no seismic catalogue has recorded so far. The educational value and potential uses of this patrimony of shared memories are very interesting indeed.
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