By Bridget Fowler
The 1st critical educational examine of obituaries, this e-book specializes in how societies take note. Bridget Fowler makes nice use of the theories of Pierre Bordieu, arguing that obituaries are one vital part in society's collective reminiscence. This booklet, the 1st of its type, will discover a position on each severe sociology scholar's bookshelves.
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Additional info for The Obituary as Collective Memory (Routledge Advances in Sociology S.)
In Nora’s view, the commemorative epoch — luxuriating in classifications, typologies and hierarchy — is intended to compensate for the fragmentation of experience in modernity (cf Matsuda 1996: 7). Yet Nora delineates also its simultaneous loss of monumental scale, most visible in the disappearance of an earlier epoch’s proud ‘statumania’. For this reason, Nora ends with a striking critique of ‘the era of commemoration’ as a new tyranny of memory: ‘The tyranny of memory will only have lasted for a while but it is our time’ (Nora III: 1012).
In particular, traces of the earlier city of modernity remain, partly in old architecture, as Victor Hugo suggested, partly also in literature and art. From these we can gain unexpected insights, even ‘epiphanies’. Cultural documents may be passed into the repositories of tradition, but they often register also forms of oppositional consciousness (or counter-memory), which might otherwise be expunged. indd 37 5/14/2007 11:25:45 AM 38 The obituary as collective memory If the fragmentation and attenuation of collective memory that has occurred constitutes — for some — a crisis of social meaning, for others these constitute a struggle of a radically different order.
5 Popular memory has, of course been linked with workers’ support for strikes or occupations, and to movements extending to a classical working-class consciousness, but it may also be rooted more straightforwardly in factory-based work-memories, or memories of urban poverty framed through interpretations of personal failure or fate. In periods where open opinion has been dangerous, popular memories may revolve round factory work, but are also censured via silences and gaps, whilst being interspersed with memories of deeply concealed acts of defiance (Passerini 1987).