Peripheral memories


CALL: 2012


FIRST NAME: Elisabeth




HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg





Submitted Abstract

Peripheral Memories. Public and private forms of experiencing and narrating the past“Peripheral memories” compiles articles that go back to contributions to an international conference on “Grand narratives and peripheral memories” held at the University of Luxembourg (26 – 28 November 2009) in the frame work of the FNR funded research project LUX-ID.After a period of intensive work on (European) national memory cultures, several disciplines have recently shown a growing interest in memory both as a social and an individual practice. Notable in this latest research is its concentration on certain particular memory complexes, namely those connected with war, persecution and expulsion. As a result, the “Holocaust memory”, i.e., the trauma, represents the paradigmatic phenomenon for the whole research endeavour. It is also increasingly understood as constitutive of a global memory community and memory practice, transcending national memories and mediating universal values. The present reader diverges from this pattern by dealing also with more everyday objects of memory that have been less prominent in research and in public discourse in general. This widening of perspective allows for a more complete view of the link between public and private memory and, more particularly, familial memory processes. Among the topics discussed in an interdisciplinary frame (history, anthropology, sociology, social psychology and media studies) are: 1. Memory and family relationsThe fact that research concentrates on traumatic memories and their familial formation influences the notion of generational relationship and familial communication. The opening up of the research field for other memory complexes allows for a more multifaceted idea of familial memory production and its functions. 2. Objects of public and private rememberingBy comparing diverse fields of memory – i.a. experiences of long term social change – it is possible to identify the different time substrata – historical and non-historical/familial – that co-exist in private memory practice and ask how their interplay is affected by more and more powerful public memory offerings.3. The social constitution of memory communitiesPeripheral memories also encompass narratives that are suppressed in public discourse; migration memories are a case in point. Recent efforts to make these memories “visible” show that memory collectives are often created or revived by external forces, i.e. by (national) memory politics and the media. This leads to the question of how public identification and mediatisation impact processes of family tradition.

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