Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Remembering Violence

Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission

Nicolas Argenti
Katharina Schramm
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 280
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Remembering Violence
    Book Description:

    Psychologists have done a great deal of research on the effects of trauma on the individual, revealing the paradox that violent experiences are often secreted away beyond easy accessibility, becoming impossible to verbalize explicitly. However, comparatively little research has been done on the transgenerational effects of trauma and the means by which experiences are transmitted from person to person across time to become intrinsic parts of the social fabric. With eight contributions covering Africa, Central and South America, China, Europe, and the Middle East, this volume sheds new light on the role of memory in constructing popular histories - or historiographies - of violence in the absence of, or in contradistinction to, authoritative written histories. It brings new ethnographic data to light and presents a truly cross-cultural range of case studies that will greatly enhance the discussion of memory and violence across disciplines.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-970-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-ix)
  6. 1 Introduction: Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission
    (pp. 1-39)

    How does violence affect remembering? How are the large–scale cataclysms, crises, disasters and dispersals that befall communities entrusted by one generation of witnesses to the next? If bearing witness to violence cannot be a disinterested act, and if memory – despite its relationship to the past – is always deployed in the present, a question arises regarding the mediation of memory, or the relationship of remembering to forgetting: How is memory partially (and necessarily) constituted by forgetting? What is the exact nature of the Faustian bargain between transmission and obliteration? If memories of large–scale man–made catastrophes are passed on...

  7. Bodies of Memory

    • Chapter 2 Rape and Remembrance in Guadeloupe
      (pp. 43-61)
      Janine Klungel

      Rape, which Pat Conroy has called ‘a crime against sleep and memory’ (cited in Pierce–Baker 1998: 47), is often depicted as the ultimate trauma – one that is surrounded by silence. In the academic debate on rape, there is a widespread assumption that rape lacks its own language and that it is beyond words (Das 2004). Nancy Scheper–Hughes and Philippe Bourgois state that rape survivors ‘often become living–dead people, refusing to speak of the unspeakable’ (2004: 1). This is in stark contradiction to the ways in which women from Guadeloupe – a Caribbean island colonised by France in 1635,...

    • Chapter 3 Uncanny Memories, Violence and Indigenous Medicine in Southern Chile
      (pp. 63-80)
      Dorthe Brogaard Kristensen

      On 11 September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet and his junta replaced the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende with a military regime. This regime lasted until 1990, when democracy was again introduced in Chile. What happened during these years, especially to the political opponents of the military regime, is a subject that has only recently been discussed publicly in Chile. The topic of state violence became part of a public discussion in connection with the publication of a governmental report on 28 November 2004, which was written on the basis of 35,000 testimonies given to theComisión Sobre Prisión Política...

  8. Performance

    • Chapter 4 Memories of Initiation Violence: Remembered Pain and Religious Transmission among the Bulongic (Guinea, Conakry)
      (pp. 83-102)
      David Berliner

      How and why are some representations, emotions, values and experiences transmitted from one generation to a younger one? How and why have some practices and attitudes endured? Why do some of them seem so tenacious? ‘Why’, asks French philosopher Régis Debray, ‘is there today, two thousands years after Jesus, something like Christianity? Marxism or Darwinism 100 years after Marx and Darwin’s death? Lacanism 15 years after Lacan passed away?’i(Debray 1997: 25) For anthropologists, there is nothing new about these ideas. Anthropology has always been concerned with the retention of the old, the persistence of cultural items and the transmission...

    • Chapter 5 Nationalising Personal Trauma, Personalising National Redemption: Performing Testimony at Auschwitz–Birkenau
      (pp. 103-131)
      Jackie Feldman

      The visit to Auschwitz–Birkenau draws to a close. The 150 members of the Israeli Ministry of Education youth delegation 75d gather opposite the remains of the gas chambers, clad in blue and white sweatshirts. The students of Sulam High School form a line atop the ruins of the crematoria, Israeli flags raised aloft. The Israeli survivor– witness climbs up onto the ‘stage’, takes a flag from one of the students and plants its staff firmly in the soil and ash. He raises his eyes towards heaven and cries: ‘How long, will we Jews, your chosen children, be a victim...

  9. Landscapes, Memoryscapes and the Materiality of Objects

    • Chapter 6 Memories of Slavery: Narrating History in Ritual
      (pp. 135-163)
      Adelheid Pichler

      The late Cuban anthropologist and historian Joel James Figarola repeatedly insisted that:

      Neither in Cuba nor anywhere else have the social sciences ever been able to apprehend the true nature of the trauma of the slave ship, the rupture of emotional context and world of reference, the market of human beings, the slave barracks, the rope, the overseer’s whip or the flat side of the machete of the rural police. We have never succeeded in grasping the dramatic dimension of all these violations and dislocations, nor can we integrate into our own lived experience the study of this suffering. But...

    • Chapter 7 In a Ruined Country: Place and the Memory of War Destruction in Argonne (France)
      (pp. 165-189)
      Paola Filippucci

      This chapter considers the question of how violence is socially remembered by focusing on a particular sort of violence, that which is inflicted on places during war. Though not necessarily associated with loss of life or limb, the destruction of landscapes and builtscapes is one of the ways in which war can hurt individuals and collectivities, and is arguably no less catastrophic in its effect on material surroundings than bodies (cf. Bevan 2006; Read 1996). The violent destruction of places is profoundly painful for individuals and collectivities because places are repositories and indeed objectifications of identity and continuity (Casey 1996;...

  10. Generations:: Chasms and Bridges

    • Chapter 8 Silent Legacies of Trauma: A Comparative Study of Cambodian Canadian and Israeli Holocaust Trauma Descendant Memory Work
      (pp. 193-228)
      Carol A. Kidron

      Foundational paradigms in psychology and Holocaust and genocide studies have asserted that trauma descendants share a legacy of PTSD–related psychosocial scars (Danieli 1998; Rousseau and Drapeau 1998) and childhood memories of a familial ‘conspiracy of silence’ (Bar–On 1992). According to the above epistemologies, trauma descendants are thought to suffer parental repression and/or denial of a violent past, and in certain contexts – such as the sociopolitical silencing of parental testimonies – an absence of articulated historical accounts of the familial past. Mental health professionals, genocide scholars and political activists alike call our attention to descendants’ newly emergent commitment to psychological...

    • Chapter 9 The Transmission of Traumatic Loss: A Case Study in Taiwan
      (pp. 229-250)
      Stephan Feuchtwang

      This case study deals with an event that was wounding and disrupting for the families of Luku, a remote mountain area in Taiwan. The event, now known as the Luku Incident (Luku Shijian), took place in the winter of 1952 to 1953 so it can still be recalled as their own experience by the survivors, who are grandfathers and grandmothers. One of those we interviewed presented symptoms of what is now called post–traumatic stress syndrome: involuntary recall and weeping. The others recalled and told their stories of torture at the hands of armed police without displaying such symptoms, but...

    • Chapter 10 Afterword: Violence and the Generation of Memory
      (pp. 251-260)
      Rosalind Shaw

      How can people remember what they have never directly experienced? While Durkheim’s student Halbwachs developed the concept of memory as extending beyond the individual, Nicolas Argenti and Katharina Schramm explore the ways in which memories – specifically, memories of political violence – extend across time, through intergenerational transmission. Moving beyond the false dichotomy between memory and history that has dominated much of the literature on memory, they seek to examine what violence means to those affected by it, how it shapes practices, representations and identities, how people remember and communicate it to subsequent generations, and how such memories may be mobilised in...

  11. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 261-263)
  12. Index
    (pp. 256-270)