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Violence and Voice: Small Worlds, Slow Memory/ies, and _Redes_

Eric Selbin
Southwestern University
Eric Selbin
Southwestern University
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper seeks to deepen and broaden conceptions of memory with particular attention to their context(s), how, when, where, and by whom memories are realized and articulated. This paper rests on several assumptions: (1) despite our propensity for valorizing (even romanticizing) individual memory, how and what we remember together is often most important; (2) struggle in various forms often reflects actors’ conception of their actions as part of some long process held in the collective/collected/communicative memory of the population; (3) such memories are usually built around dramatic, violent events, sometimes celebrated, other times hidden. These collective memories are often a heady concoction and concatenation of names, dates, places, grievances, and even means and methods, woven together into some sort of working narrative of hopes, dreams, and desires; anger, resentment, and grievance; fears, commitments, and passions. This project endeavors to position memories in what might productively be thought of as their context(s): the "small worlds" (Brooks, DeCorse, and Walton, 2008) that define daily lives; the "counter-urgency" of slow memory/ies, i.e., those memories which require time, space, and place to articulate; and the web of _redes_, meant to evince not just networks but "assemblages," "that life and movements are ineluctably produced in and through relations in a dynamic fashion" (Escobar, 2008: 25), we endlessly weave. The proposal here is that the addition of context(s) should enhance our ability to understand how people (re)use memories of violence and give voice and meaning to them.