Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Browne, S. and O'Carroll, C.
2022 Unknown
Memory, Mobility and Material Culture
Communicative Memory and Diaspora Space ‘…Offering My Prayers for all the Exiled Members of My Family’
In Press
Optional Fields
migration; material culture; communicative memory; domestic space
This chapter considers communicative memory as explored by Jan Assmann (2008b) in a case study focused on the diaspora space (Brah 1996) of Irish post-war migration to London. It identifies and discusses negotiation of presence, absence, continuity and change through the movement of objects to and from sites of migration and ‘staying put,’ and into and out of the dwelling-place. Assmann describes communicative memory as being noninstitutional and asserts that ‘it lives in everyday interaction and communication’ (2008b, 111). Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with over 35 transnational households (Browne 2022), we discuss how the everyday environment of all those in the diaspora space was incrementally transformed by the presence of objects sent through the post, purchased with remittances and transported on trips back and forth. Through the examination of oral testimony and family photographs, we present and analyse the types of objects exchanged and their role in everyday life and communication in diaspora space. Everyday items such as clothing, food objects, reading materials and letters are considered, along with items introduced through remittances, in an exploration of the meshing of communicative memory and symbolic presence.
Chiara Giuliani, Kate Hodgson
Grant Details