WP289 Collective memory and the interaction order.

Van de Putte
Collection: Key word


This paper shows that aggregated forms of memory, be they cultural or collective, can be reconceptualised as less stable than they have been hitherto assumed to be.? The ?frames? (Irwin-Zarecka, 1994) or ?schemata? (Erll, 2011, 2014) that people employ to attribute meaning to the past are multiple, ever-changing and constantly re-actualised in everyday interactions. The paper presents a qualitative micro-study of a 3-minute spoken interaction between a research participant and a researcher, focusing on the past of the contemporary Polish town of Oswiecim, internationally better known as Auschwitz. Borrowing methods and concepts from interactional sociology and linguistic ethnography, the paper demonstrates that people know different narratives about the same past event and are able to move between those narratives when the interactional context requires them to. The combination of micro-discourse analysis with ethnographic detail provides an insight into the flexibility of the remembering self in interpersonal interaction, and the paper?s findings and methodological framework engage in a dialogue with some fundamental critiques in the field of memory studies. These include, among others, the need to connect the micro, meso and macro, and the individual with the social (Kansteiner, 2010; Keightley, Pickering, Bisht 2019; Gensburger, 2016), and the urge to actively develop and think through methods in memory studies research (Kansteiner, 2002; Keightley and Pickering 2013; Roediger and Wertsch, 2008).