Semiotic-material aspects of memory practices at school
(Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
In my paper I study how a student's past is communicated, materialised, organized and institutionalised and how the enactment of past memories is related to enacting particular views of the future.
Paper long abstract:
It is quite impossible to examine memory without referring to imagination. There are multiple ways of performing pasts, presents and futures by way of interrelating them. Thereby the action which interrelates pasts, presents and futures is both semiotic and non-semiotic. It is through the interaction of humans and non-humans (photos, documents, buildings) that memories are 'generated,' presents are 'assembled,' and futures are 'witnessed.' This interaction between humans and non-humans can be creative leading to absolute novelty and at the same time ritualize this very novelty into a closed system or an oppressive regime. How is the progress of a student documented and memorized at school? How is remembering and forgetting of one's school performance related to one's future? What is the role of writing and of using documents, files and other materialities by such processes? Are there settings which enable more or less open ways of interacting with one's past and with one's future? How is past memory related to identity & imagination? In my paper, I address these questions, drawing on the analysis of discursive and non-discursive action in a secondary school for students of socio-cultural minorities where I carried out a one-year ethnographical research. I use this example to study how a student's past is communicated, materialised, organized and institutionalized and how the enactment of past memories is related to enacting particular views of the future. The study examines an alternative approach on memory, identity and imagination based on ‚difference' (Deleuze) and on ‚virtuality' (Bergson).
Enacting pasts and futures: memory, identity and imagination