Unremembered: memorial, sentimentality, dislocation

Johnson, Laurie (2015) Unremembered: memorial, sentimentality, dislocation. In: Trauma and public memory. Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., London, pp. 70-84. ISBN 978-1-137-40679-8


Erika Apfelbaum has described the condition for displaced persons in terms of a ‘need for legacy,’ referring to the lack of normal markers of community which are offset by building community ties around just this very lack: uprootedness does in fact lead to community but one based on a shared sense of lack. This is to say that the displaced person wants for legacy and then finds connection with others who want for the same thing. This paper considers that these processes may be also at work in memorialising of the past. Lindsay Tuggle has recently explored the psychoanalytic status of sites designed to serve as a locus for the mourning of strangers (such as the Ground Zero memorial site in New York), and she argues that such sites operate as an objective ground for a ‘failure of incorporation,’ resulting in a need to project an already lost object – more specifically, the loss of the object, rather than the object itself – onto an exterior location. Tuggle’s explanation extends theories of mourning and melancholia by Freud and other psychoanalysts, which stipulate that incorporation is a result of a failure to mourn, meaning by extension that Tuggle is describing these memorial sites as a product of both a failure to mourn and a failure to achieve failed mourning. I shall ask if this double failure functions just like Apfelbaum’s ‘need for legacy’ and, if this is the case, whether the operation of a need for legacy that does not proceed initially from large scale displacement may in fact produce just such a sense of uprootedness: do memorial practices linked to mourning for strangers lead to a general dislocation from the past, an unremembering? In short, is memorialization a violence toward the past?

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 Jul 2013 - 28 Feb 2019)
Date Deposited: 30 May 2016 07:16
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2016 01:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: Memorials; Trauma; Public Memory; Psychoanalysis; Cultural Memory
Fields of Research (2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200204 Cultural Theory
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137406804
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/27137

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