Childhood Memory Spaces: How Enduring Memories of Childhood Places Shape Our Lives explores the places adults remember from their childhood. More specifically, it examines the questions "what kinds of places do we remember?" and "why do they linger in our memories?". The answers emerge from a variety of sources, including scholarship in cognitive science, environmental psychology, geography, communication, etc., but they are illustrated primarily through the over 100 stories told by adults who still vividly recall the places where key facets of their identity developed. Those stories reveal both that the answers are significantly more complex than one academic perspective can explain and that profoundly personal narratives can highlight their complexity in ways that scientific and social scientific research alone cannot.
This book meets a need to integrate related, yet independent, lines of research in the natural and social sciences—doing so with a decidedly humanistic touch. Specifically, the book offers an interdisciplinary exploration of how place, memory, and identity intersect as we craft our life stories while seeking what Kenneth Burke called equipment for living with the challenges that life presents along the way.
Weaving theory with personal narratives, Childhood Memory Spaces underscores a fundamental relationship: the stories of our lives are entwined with place, and we understand these stories (and ourselves) by reflecting upon the ways in which these memorable places have shaped, and continue to shape, our lives.