26th Feb 2014 4:30pm-7:00pm
Towards a critical ecology of memory: notes on the relationship between space, affect, power and the past.
Garikoitz Gómez Alfaro, University of Brighton.
How do people approach and negotiate space once associated with violence and suffering? Which accounts of the past are present within these spaces? Which are absent? To what extent is the affective encounter with such spaces shaped by memory? This paper focuses on the critical conceptualisation of the relationship between memory and space in post-conflict contexts. In order to do so, it will start by sketching the entanglements between power, authority and the production of regimes of memory. Then, it will move on to critically revisiting the relationship between space and memory combining post-structural approaches with a set of analytical concepts that stem from what has been coined the ‘affective turn’ and ‘non-representational theories’. This combined approach would make it possible to focus on the construction of spatial imaginaries as well as on the ways they are experienced, imagined, and performed through “affective practices”. Following the works of Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Paul Connerton and Yael Navaro-Yashin, it will argue for an approach to memoryscapes that looks at both the somatic and the semiotic without putting aside crucial issues of power, justice and violence – as important as they are for societies that deal with troubling legacies of the past. The paper will end with a critical examination of the concept of “ecology of memory” (Jones, 2004) as a potential way out of the conceptual blockages around social memory, affect, experience, and representation.Despite the paper aims to sketch the underlying theoretical premises of my doctoral dissertation, I will also draw upon some empirical material already produced throughout my ongoing research in Derry/Londonderry (Northern Ireland) and Portbou (Spain).
Garikoitz Gómez Alfaro is a pre-doctoral researcher at the University of Brighton. He is member of the Critical Studies Research Group at the same university and member of the editorial collective of Ecléctica, a Spanish journal of Cultural Studies