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Covid-19 and Collective Memory Among Malaysians: Does Generation Matter?

Hasrina Mustafa, Sharifah Nadiah Syed Mukhiar, Shariffah Suraya Syed Jamaludin and Norhani Mohd Jais

Pertanika Journal of Science & Technology, Volume 29, Issue 4, December 2021


Keywords: Collective memory, Covid-19, Critical Years Hypothesis, generational cohort

Published on: 13 December 2021

The present study aims to understand the impact of Covid-19 on the collective memory among Malaysian generational cohorts. Our research draws on a nationwide survey conducted from July-September 2020 during the second pandemic wave in Malaysia. Respondents were asked to report “the national or world events or changes over the past 60 years” that seemed to them especially important and explain the reasons for their choices. As expected, the result indicated Covid-19 as the most frequently mentioned event. Despite the primacy and recency of the event, we found significant cohort effects on the collective memory of Covid-19, with lower recall recorded among the older generation as compared to the younger generation, which provided stronger support to the Critical Years Hypothesis. Interesting cohort experiences emerge in the meaning attached to Covid-19 across different generational cohorts through open-ended follow-up questions.

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