The work of memory: embodiment, materiality and home in Jeanne Bouvier’s autobiographical writings

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Tamboukou, Maria (2015)
  • Publisher: Routledge

In this paper I follow trails in the memory of work by reading the books and papers of Jeanne Bouvier, a French seamstress, ardent trade-unionist and passionate writer, who left a rich body of labour literature including four published historical studies, as well as the memoirs of her life, work and struggles. Work, action and creativity are three interrelated planes on which Bouvier situates herself, while memory and imagination are interwoven in the way she seeks to understand herself in the world with others. What emerges as a particularly striking theme from Bouvier’s papers is a material matrix of mnemonic and imaginary practices, wherein bodies, places and objects are entangled in the narrative constitution of the self of the woman worker/writer.
  • References (20)
    20 references, page 1 of 2

    Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative SocialResearch, 12(3), Art. 3, http://nbn- (accessed, 24-3-2014). 22 For an excellent overview of the field see amongst others, Susannah Radstone

    and Bill Schwarz (Eds) (2010) Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates. (NY:

    Fordham University Press). 23 See, Susannah Radstone (2007) The Sexual Politics of Time: Confession, Nostalgia, Memory. (NY and London: Routledge) and Sylvia Paletschek and Sylvia Schrant (Eds.) (2008) The Gender of Memory: Cultures of Remembrance in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Europe (Chicago: Chicago University Press). 24 See Castillo, The memory of work, p.1. 25 For example, the word 'femme' does not appear in any of the front pages of the website of the national archives of the world of work in France. See, 26 See, Paletschek and Schrant, The Gender of Memory, p. 273 27 For an excellent collection of theories around women's autobiographical writings,

    see Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson (Eds)(1998) Women, Autobiography, Theory: A

    Reader. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press). 28 See amongst others The Gender of Memory for a good overview of this literature. 29 See, 'Le baptême du petite frère' and 'La mort du petite frère' as the very first pages/sections of her Mémoires, pp. 35-37. 30 See amongst others, Arlette Farge (1989) Le goût de l' archive. (Paris: Gallimard);

    Jaques Derrida (1998) Archive Fever. (Chicago: The University of Chicago

    Press); Carolyn Steedman (2001) Dust. (Manchester: Manchester University

    Pres); Antoinette Burton (Ed.) (2005) Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions and the

    Writing of History. (Durham: Duke University Press); Ann, L., Stoler, (2009)

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