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The sense of memory

Ali, Suki (2012) The sense of memory. Feminist Review, 100. pp. 88-105. ISSN 0141-7789

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Identification Number: 10.1057/fr.2011.71


In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the role of collective memory in ethno-national projects. In addition, there has been an expansion of research utilising memory work and auto/biographical methods, which have been particularly effective in the writing of feminists of colour. The paper is prompted by a return to Avtar Brah's ‘The Scent of Memory’ that it uses as a starting point to explore the relationships between competing accounts of ‘private’ memories of racialisation that come from mixed-race siblings growing up in a mainly white town. Drawing on interviews, the paper uses familial narratives and their individual telling, to show how sense is made of divergent experiences and memories of childhood and teenage in 1960s and 1970s Britain. The paper shows how narrative accounts are often negotiated through multiple senses, revealing them as both imagined and recalled, contested and negotiated. The paper considers the strengths and limitations of narrative analysis in understanding the relationship between individual and collective memories at both national and familial levels. It argues that the ways in which the social and personal memories are connected in the processes of subjectivation are unstable and opaque, and can only ever be partially known through the process of narrativisation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Feminist Review
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2012 15:37
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:23

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