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Actancial memory: A pragmatic approach regarding souvenirs of the close encounter with death


In this text, which is based on fieldwork encompassing observation and interviews among three different groups of people who had some form of close encounter with a “violent death”, directly or indirectly, I propose a way of understanding memory taking seriously the set of elements that compose it and that cause effects in current situations, beyond its performance as memory-habit: I name it actancial memory. Through this concept I argue that souvenirs-images linked to situations of injury, tension and death that operate as actancial memory’s devices, give and/or alter the tangibility of understanding/meaning of current situations. Taking support mostly in the philosophical pragmatism and in the pragmatic sociology, I analyze how the multitemporality of memory and the immediate consequences of emerging or recovered souvenirs have effects on the continuity of life for the actors studied, that seek to resignify them.

Memory; Pragmatic Sociology; Violence; Death; Device

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