Family memory is made up
of scattered and disparate fragments that are dependent on the vagaries
of reminiscence and that are wrought by the interplay of remembering
and forgetting. This memory is fleeting, it surprises and invades the
person who is remembering in blasts, in stops and starts. It reverberates
in the secret inner being of everyone.
But what is family memory?
Family memory is firstly
a history, the way in which an individual mobilizes his past and gives
it meaning, more or less consciously. Family memory is the result of
the work of re-appropriation and negotiation that all individuals carry
out with respect to this history that founds their identity.
Family memory is also an
antechamber of otherness. In it is constructed the relationship between
individuals and their own history, and therefore between them and the
others in this history. In it are written the continuities and the breaks
in the history of families, in family ties, in the forms of handing
down, and in the contents of what is handed down.
But family memory is also
and above all a presence inside us which recalls itself to us on the
basis of images, impressions, and sensations. When it opens up its doors,
it lets out, as if by magic, a burst of odors, sounds, an anecdote,
a familiar joke, an object, a photo, the voices of familiar characters,
the memory of their bodies, of their gestures, like an image of a childhood
place, a recipe, etc., all of these evocations working as cues to bring
the past back into the present.
Selection on the theme of memory
dans la mémoire familiale : conquête poétique de
lespace," in B.Bawin-Legros, R.Radurand, K.Kellerhals, F.de
Singly (eds), Les espaces de la famille, Les cahiers de sociologie
de la famille, N°1, Liège, 1995, pp .229-236.
"Être frère et sur, le rester," Informations
sociales, N°67, 1998.
"Les fêtes de famille ou les étincelles du désir,"
in A.Eiguer, C.Leprince, F.Baruch (eds), La fête de famille,
In Press Editions, Paris, 1997.
"La mémoire de la maison," Le divan familial,
In Press, 3/Automne 1999.
Individu et mémoire familiale, Nathan, Paris, 1996.
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