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Materiality of Remembering and Reconciliation: A veterans’ reunion as a pilgrimage Kyoko Murakami (e) ISCAR.

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Presentation on theme: "Materiality of Remembering and Reconciliation: A veterans’ reunion as a pilgrimage Kyoko Murakami (e) ISCAR."— Presentation transcript:

1 Materiality of Remembering and Reconciliation: A veterans’ reunion as a pilgrimage Kyoko Murakami (e) ISCAR Sydney 29 th -30 th September 2014

2 Overview Reappraisal – The achievement of discursive psychological approach to studying remembering and reconciliation Rehearsing a materialist argument Illustrative examples Summary

3 MURAKAMI, K. (2014). Commemoration Reconsidered: Second World War Veterans’ Reunion as Pilgrimage. Memory Studies. 7(3),

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6 A discursive psychological approach ‘the discursive approach where versions of events, things, people and so on are studied theorised…in terms of how those versions are constructed in an occasioned manner to accomplish social actions.’ (Edwards and Potter, 1992, p. 8)

7 Challenges for Memory Studies ‘by nature multiple and yet specific; collective, plural, and yet individual’ (Nora,1989, p. 9), Capturing its complexity and indefinability Away from dualisms – individual v. collective, private v. public

8 Lieux de Memoire Pierre Nora labels memory as the lieux (places/sites) which are ‘‘mixed, hybrid, mutant, bound intimately with life and death, with time and eternity; Enveloped in a Möbius strip of the collective and the individual, the sacred and the profane, the immutable and the mobile (Nora 1989, p. 19). The strip holds a unity of opposites

9 Materiality of Remembering ‘Materialized becomings’: – Materiality as ‘its ability to speak to multiple senses and they point to the significance of shared experiences, dynamic interactions and bodily engagements beyond the purely cognitive’ (Tanggaard, 2013, p. 25)

10 A Materialist View ‘A social psychology of remembering is that one must look beyond the idea of a single cognitive faculty which people have in common to the proposition that their ways of remembering may be different depending upon their relationship to their community, including the world of objects it produces and preserves.’ (Radley’s chapter in Middleton & Edwards, 1990) See also Middleton & Brown (2005)

11 Semiotic Mediation ‘remembering is something which occurs in a world of things, as well as words, and that artefacts play a central role in the memories of cultures and individuals’ (Radley, 1990, p. 57) Cf. tying a knot in his handkerchief as a reminder ‘human beings actively remember with the help of signs’ and ‘humans personally influence their relations with the environment and through that environment personally change their behavior, subjecting it to their control’ (Vygotsky, 1978)

12 Argument The reappraisal of discursive psychological approach to remembering and reconciliation The interplay between discourse, and materials/artefacts, body and environment Integrated whole…

13 A Case of Kohima Veterans’ Reunion 26 th April 2012, York, UK Chairperson of Burma Campaign Society

14 Burma Campaign (1941-5) Battle of Kohima Battle of Imphal

15 Veteran’s Reunion as Pilgrimage Time spent away from home/ordinary/everyday New encounters – dialogues, interactions and conversations Rituals via emergent syncretism – An attempted reconciliation or union of different principles, practices and parties

16 Rites of passage Victor Turner (1969), Arnold van Genep (1960) 1.Social and spiritual separation from the community 2.A ‘liminal’ stage where the pilgrim, who is on the margin, experiences the sacred and supernatural in the intense bonding of ‘communitas’ – emergence of social related ness, togetherness and solidarity 3.Reintegration into the everyday community

17 Rituals Ritual and ceremony can be looked upon as spatially and temporarily arranged actions, involving several participants acting in concert, and employ objects. Rituals are semiotic wholes, and it may be possible to produce grammars (rules of communication) that describe them. (Turner, 1995/1969, p. 94; cf., Conerton, 1989)

18 In the field… Implicit reference to the insanity and atrocities – the ineffable Deep reflection on the present international conflict Tolerance, sensitivity to the other Soften the animosities Amending the broken family ties Unfinished business Envisioning the future – a new light

19 Reunion for the last time

20 Mixed modalities Pomp and CircumstanceChurch/Religions ceremony

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22 Amending the relationship: Father and Daughter

23 New dialogue emerges…

24 Summary The significance of the war grave and prison camp pilgrimages and veterans reunions Critical stance to the discursive argument Materiality of remembering and reconciliation Pilgrimage – a site of alternative discourses, thus creating a possibility of being otherwise) Managing the ineffable Emergence of new dialogue and social relations

25 Selected References CONNERTON, P. (1989). How Societies Remember, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. MIDDLETON, D. & BROWN, S. D. (2005). The social psychology of experience: Studies in remembering and forgetting, London, Sage. MIDDLETON, D. J. & EDWARDS, D. (eds.) Collective remembering, London: Sage. MURAKAMI, K. (2012). Discursive Psychology of remembering and reconciliation, Hauppauge, NY, USA Nova Science Publishers. MURAKAMI, K. (2014). Commemoration Reconsidered: Second World War Veterans’ Reunion as Pilgrimage. Memory Studies. Radley, A. (1990). Artefacts, Memory and a Sense of the Past. In D. Middleton & D. Edwards (Eds.), Collective Remembering (pp ). London: Sage. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


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