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