Deleuze and Memorial Culture

Deleuze and Memorial Culture: Desire, Singular Memory and the Politics of Trauma

Adrian Parr
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and Memorial Culture
    Book Description:

    Deleuze and Memorial Culture outlines the relevance of Deleuze's thought to cultural studies and the wider phenomenon of traumatic memory and public remembrance.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3158-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    How we remember also affirms how we live our lives today and tomorrow: defensively or joyfully. Memory is dynamic and its movement is largely ungraspable. It can open new linguistic, economic, historical, and energetic combinations that either normalize or reinvent how the social field organizes itself. Yet the movement of memory cannot be clearly situated within space and time. Memory, unlike remembrance itself, is not in space and time, although it can be said to produce space-times. Memory does not happen to a body, it subsists throughout it. A body doesn’t remember a defined slice of time, for memory is...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Desire is Social
    (pp. 15-33)

    Memorial culture appears in many different forms. There is the institutionalized setting of public commemoration, such as the celebratory activities of Memorial Day, or the countless memorials and monuments erected in public places. In addition, there is the whole industry of memorialization, such as memorial exhibitions and museums, as well as Hollywood’s rendition of real-life collective traumas in film, not to forget the blossoming industry of memorial tourism to former concentration camp sites like Auschwitz and Birkenau. Further, there are the spontaneous memorials – teddy bears, flowers, wreaths, and letters – such as those flooding the gates of Buckingham Palace...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Utopian Memory
    (pp. 34-53)

    There seems to be a fundamental difference between public apathy toward past communal trauma and being morbidly obsessed with such events. Anyone attempting to come to terms with the incommensurability of representation with regard to trauma has inevitably to address this difference. Ultimately, apathy towards the past provides the motivation for the self-indulgent question of ‘Why bother caring?’ to be posed, while critical distance encourages us to ask ‘What does it really matter?’ The latter is a question Theodor W. Adorno discusses in Negative Dialectics, but contrary to the belief that questions posed in this way are a sign of...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
    (pp. 54-75)

    Fought between 1956 and 1975 American involvement in the Vietnam War saw over two million US citizens serve and some 58,000 die or be declared missing in action. Michal Belknap in his study of the war cites that during the period August 1965 to October 1967 those who felt it was not a mistake to send troops to Vietnam fell from 61 percent to 44 percent, not to mention that by 1967 a total of seven people had set themselves alight in protest, and the antiwar movement had expanded to become a serious force within American social and political life,...

  8. CHAPTER 4 9/11 News Coverage
    (pp. 76-93)

    In his address to the nation on 11 September 2001, American President George W. Bush declared that no American will ever forget the terrorist attacks of 9/11, going on to announce that the country would ‘go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just’ in the world.¹ This chapter will look to the social reality and function of remembering traumatic events such as 9/11 asking: at what point can we declare that we are remembering too much? Or more significantly, when does the trauma of a past event turn despotic? It will be argued that the mass...

  9. CHAPTER 5 US Military Abuses at Abu Ghraib
    (pp. 94-111)

    On 28 April 2004 CBS 60 Minutes aired a report on the brutalization of Iraqi detainees at the hands of US soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison; this was rapidly followed by an article on the same story that appeared in The New Yorker on 30 April 2004. These images flooded newsstands and media outlets worldwide, and the debate over moral culpability and immunity occupied talk-show radio hosts and news commentators alike. Needless to say, the then US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, responded to the media frenzy by quickly engaging a hermeneutic battle over the definition of ‘torture’ in an...

  10. CHAPTER 6 The Amish Shootings
    (pp. 112-127)

    If trauma is defined as an incommensurable experience or reality, then we can never ever really hope to use the logic of signification to interpret its meaning. How is it possible then to respond to traumatic memories if the fundamental presupposition of signification that semiotics, psychoanalysis, and structuralism all share in common no longer holds sway? Whereas in Chapter 4 our analysis of postmodern aesthetics and logic produced what Deleuze and Guattari might call an illegitimate disjunctive synthesis, in this chapter we will try to extract the sense of trauma by engaging the same synthesis in its legitimate form. The...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Ground Zero
    (pp. 128-142)

    The contemporary western urban environment is a transcultural locality, understood as a self-organizing entity producing and reproducing itself through the participation of sensorial and material movements. These include the smells and tastes of different localities, such as trees, gardens, parks, and eateries; the rhythms of wind flow, flashing street signs, the pulse of traffic, the circulation of people and goods, the throb of music vibrating throughout streets and buildings; the visual clamor of color, shape, texture, scale, lighting, shade, fashion, building density, branding, and the composition of all these elements; the soul of a neighborhood, whether that be the various...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Berlin and the Holocaust
    (pp. 143-165)

    There is an old Israeli joke of a Jewish mother who immigrated to Israel from Germany during the war. She is taking the bus through Jerusalem with her son Itzhak. She speaks animatedly to him in Yiddish and yet he keeps answering her in Hebrew. The mother insists he speak in Yiddish – ‘No, no, no. Answer me in Yiddish mein sun.’ Finally, an impatient Israeli leans over to her and exclaims: ‘Lady, why on earth do you keep insisting that the boy speak Yiddish and not Hebrew?’ To which the mother retorts with indignation and surprise: ‘Why, I don’t...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Trauma and Consumption
    (pp. 166-180)

    The journalist K. C. Summers comments that tickets to the ground zero viewing platform in New York City were available between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Although Summers turned up at 1 p.m. tickets for that day had run out and one was issued for 10 a.m. the next day. When arriving at the viewing platform it was noted that people should be prepared to be in line for at least 45 minutes. Similarly, and writing for the travel section of the New York Times, Joseph Siano reminds his readers that tickets for the viewing gallery were only valid for...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 181-189)

    During the Jewish period of mourning over the destruction of the first and second temples – Tishah B’av – it is written in the Siddur that Plato accompanied King Nebuchadnezzar when he destroyed the First Temple. Once the building was in ruins Plato encounters the wailing prophet Jeremiah near the Temple Mount. Aghast that such a preeminent and wise sage should be weeping over a pile of ruins, Plato asks him why on earth he is crying, explaining to him that it is pointless to cry over the past. He goes on to ask Jeremiah what good his tears can...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 190-197)
  16. Index
    (pp. 198-200)