Janna Vogl: Starting Points for an Inequality-Sensitive Theory of Memory (GER)

How can theories of memory be linked with aspects of social inequality? Halbwachs already tried to combine his renowned studies on collective memory with class society at the beginning of the 20th century. 

He saw the then solidifying working class as a group that was forced by their labour to realise a socially fabricated way of controlling matter in such a manner (repetitive, externally determined) that it isolated them from a sense of participation in social life. Halbwachs assumed that socially higher-ranking groups could always reassure themselves of their status by means of a reminiscent envisioning of collective imaginaries and their “materialisations”, while for socially lower-ranking groups such frameworks for a shared memory were less available and differently structured.

Today, a century later, Halbwachs’ considerations need to be reassessed. However, it is interesting that he tried to understand unequal dynamics in socially structured forms of remembering and forgetting and drew attention to the way these forms inscribe themselves into bodies, ways of life, space, and matter. I will pursue these thoughts in the lecture: Which – scattered – approaches can be found as starting points for an inequality-sensitive theory of memory?

Janna Vogl is a research associate at the DFG Research Training Group 2227 Identity and Heritage at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and strengthens the sociological component of the group as a postdoctoral fellow. She studied sociology, mathematics, and anthropogeography (University of Potsdam) and received her PhD from the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies (Erfurt) on the topic From Agency to Action? Women and Development Cooperation in South India. She taught as a lecturer at the University of Erfurt and the Humboldt University of Berlin. Her research focuses on social movements, post- and decolonial theory, social theory, memory studies and qualitative methods.

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