Family Memory : Practices, Transmissions and Uses in a Global Perspective book cover
1st Edition

Family Memory
Practices, Transmissions and Uses in a Global Perspective

ISBN 9780367701741
Published December 31, 2021 by Routledge
260 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In Family Memory: Practices, Transmissions and Uses in a Global Perspective, researchers from five different continents explore the significance of family memory as an analytical tool and a research concept.

Family memory is the most important memory community. This volume illustrates the range and power of family memories, often neglected by memory studies dealing with larger mnemonic entities. This book highlights the potential of family memory research for understanding societies’past and present and the need for a more comprehensive and systematic use of family memories. The contributors explain how family memories can be a valuable resource across a range of settings pertaining to individual and collective identities, national memories, intergenerational transmission processes and migration, transnational and diasporic studies. This volume presents the past, present and future of family memory as a prospective field of memory studies and the role of family memory in intergenerational transmission of social and political values. Family memory of violent events and genocide is also looked at, with discussions of the Armenian Genocide, Russian Revolution and Rwandan Genocide.

This book will be an important read for cultural and oral historians; family historians; public historians; researchers in narrative studies, psychology, politics and international studies.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations

List of Abbreviations

Notes on Contributors

Foreword by Alessandro Portelli


1 Family Memory as a Prospective Field of Memory Studies: Past, Present, Future

Radmila Švaříčková Slabáková



Private and Public Practices of Building Family Memory

2 Family Voices and the Practice of Memory: Five Generations of Women in Rome

Barbara Ronchetti

3 The Buarque de Holanda: Family Memory and Political Engagement in the Public Space in Brazil

Giselle Martins Venancio

4 The Ntsimane Family Traditions and Rituals in Pre- and Post-1994 South Africa

Radikobo Ntsimane



Intergenerational Transmission of Social and Political Values

5 Czech Family Stories of Communism: Family Memories at the Intersection of Family Values, Family Relations and National Memory

Radmila Švaříčková Slabáková

6 Family Memories for Communism in Bulgaria: Destiny and Resource

Ilia Iliev

7 Family Memories of Second-Generation Republican Women Exiled to Mexico

Pilar Domínguez Prats



Family Memory of Violent Events and Genocide

8 "Facts, not Emotions": Changing Generational Needs and New Meanings of the Memory of the Armenian Genocide

Öndercan Muti

9 Family Memories and the Development of the Genocide Ideology in Rwanda

Philippe Denis

10 Exile and Soviet Memoirs: Family Mansions in Aristocratic Family Memories after the Russian Revolution

Zbyněk Vydra



Family Memory, Family Identity and Digital Media

11 Family Memories, Family Histories and the Identities of Settler Family Descendants in New Zealand 

Anna Green

12 What do Family Memories Mean?: Navigating the Unfinished Archives after the Partition of India

Indira Chowdhury

13 "Got my Finn Tattoo!": Sharing Family Memories on Facebook

Anne Heimo

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Radmila Švaříčková Slabáková is an Associate Professor of History at Palacký University Olomouc. She is the author of numerous publications on memory, oral history, gender and modern historiography.


Collective memory starts in the family. This rich and exciting collection provides deep insights into the dynamics of family memory across the globe. It is an indispensable companion for all those working in the field of transnational memory studies.

Astrid Erll, Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

This timely collection offers a rich history and a compelling argument for the study of family memory. It opens new and exciting paths for memory studies and beyond, and will become an instant touchstone for scholars across disciplines. The global take of this truly international volume is much-needed in a field that has often been national or euro-centric in focus.  

Ashley Barnwell, Senior Research Fellow in Sociology, University of Melbourne, Australia

Family is the most important memory community’, writes the editor of this wide-ranging collection. The essays in this volume exemplify, complicate, and challenge this claim. What kind of community is a family? What kind of inheritance is memory? How is it fashioned, passed on, re-remembered? How do collective memories mesh with or contradict other social and political narratives? And how does relating memories differ from storytelling? These are some of the questions which an impressive group of international scholars address in their rigorous and sensitive analyses of the concept of family memory and its uses in a research context. This is a fascinating collection which takes us into the very heart of the different ways in which we make and re-make our selves across time. It gave me much food for thought and inspiration for future projects.

Alison Light, Senior Research Fellow in English and History, Pembroke College, Oxford, UK