Death, Memory and Material Culture (Materializing Culture) by Elizabeth Hallam

By Elizabeth Hallam

· How do the dwelling preserve ongoing relationships with the lifeless in Western societies?· How have the residual assets of the useless been used to rouse memories?· Why has the physique and its fabric surroundings remained so very important in memory-making?Objects, pictures, practices, and areas remind us of the deaths of others and of our personal mortality. on the time of loss of life, embodied individuals disappear from view, their relationships with others come less than risk and their impression may perhaps stop. Emotionally, socially, politically, a lot is at stake on the time of dying. during this context, stories and memory-making will be hugely charged, and sometimes give you the useless with a social presence among the residing. stories of the lifeless are a bulwark opposed to the fear of forgetting, in addition to an inescapable end result of a life’s ending.Objects in attics, gardens, museums, streets and cemeteries can let us know a lot in regards to the strategies of remembering. This strange and soaking up publication develops views in anthropology and cultural background to bare the significance of fabric items in studies of grief, mourning and memorializing. faraway from being ‘invisible’, the authors express how earlier generations, useless acquaintances and fans stay appear – via well-worn clothing, letters, pictures, plants, residual drops of body spray, funerary sculpture. Tracing the rituals, gestures and fabrics which have been used to form and guard thoughts of non-public loss, Hallam and Hockey exhibit how fabric tradition offers the deceased with a robust presence in the right here and now.

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Bodies and Material Objects Our discussion so far has concentrated on the significance of metaphors that establish cultural connections between memory and material domains. If memory and memories are grasped through sets of associations with material structures and objects, this is suggestive of broader social and cultural processes that link persons or subjects with material domains. The materials of memory, whether in the form of texts, visual images, objects or bodies, hinge upon and acquire their significance through conceptual linkages between personhood and the material world.

While this study takes its theoretical perspectives from anthropology and cultural history, we acknowledge the historical emergence of these disciplines as an aspect of the (specialized) cultural production of memory. As Le Goff points out, the emergence and development of the social sciences has had a significant effect upon the ways in which memory, especially collective memory, has been conceptualized. He suggests that there is a mutually reinforcing relationship between academic interest in memory and wider social perceptions of memory as an important dimension of lived experience: This pursuit, rescue, and celebration of collective memory, no longer in single events but over a long period, this quest for collective memory, less in texts than in the spoken word, images, gestures, rituals and festivals, constitutes a major change in historical vision.

Furthermore, the inner body was rendered visible as ‘[t]he outward and inward features Figuring Memory 39 are often merged into one’ (1984: 318). This conception of the body as one that was linked to other bodies, material objects and landscapes, or one that acted as a site at which internal/external transactions took place, can be seen as receptive to memory as the bodily incorporation of material. Ultimately, as Bakhtin states, the grotesque body ‘swallows the world and is itself swallowed by the world’, providing an allembracing view of the materiality of the body caught in cycles of death and renewal (1984: 317).

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