Memory, trauma and methodological disquiet: when the past is too present

Sónia Ferreira (CRIA (FCSH-Nova))
Sónia Vespeira de Almeida (Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA), Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Start time:
11 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Living in accelerated times constitutes periods of anxiety and uncertainty. The analysis of these periods' memories frequently provokes tension both to the interviewee as to the anthropologist. We call for papers focused on the methodological options used in these research contexts.

Long abstract:

Living under dictatorships, revolutionary contexts and other accelerated times (Hann, 1994) constitutes an experience of extreme anxiety and uncertainty in what concerns to everyday experiences, worries towards the future and awareness of social positions. Moments in which capitals of distinction (Bourdieu, 1979) are frequently reverted. The analysis of these periods' memories frequently provokes tension both to the interviewee as to the anthropologist who validates and legitimates the biographical experiences at stake. Many authors refer questions around traumatic rememoration processes which lack analytical discussions about the role of the researcher as receiver and mediator of these data to which he will provide academic visibility, sometimes reaching public space. This kind of information have inevitable repercussions on the social and psychological dimensions of interviewees lives because some of their experiences can in the present be seen as deviants, anachronic, not fully understandable and moral questionable. In this sense the interviewee, and/or the group under analysis, face new situations of tension and anxiety and moments of questioning about past memories and present experiences. These are the main questions that we want to discuss in this panel. So "Memory, trauma and methodological disquiet. When the past is too present" calls for papers focused on empirical cases that stress the methodological options in these particular research contexts: kind of relationship that could, or should be, established with interviewees; the gathering and the processing of information and the inevitable ethic questions that emerge in processes of this kind.