Beyond Trauma: Researching Memory on My Doorstep
In November 2015, the city of Paris experienced major terrorist attacks, most of which happened in my district. My neighborhood became the stage for major grassroot memorials. As it happens, I am a sociologist of memory. The phenomena I had been studying in places far removed from my everyday life were now unfolding on my doorstep. For almost a year, I kept sociological chronicles of this memorialization process. In this chapter, I revisit this research from a methodological perspective: What are the benefits, and difficulties, of interweaving fieldwork and everyday life in the study of memory? And what social dynamics are taking place, beyond trauma?
The author is very grateful to Danielle Drozdzewski and Carolyn Birdsall for their constructive comments and editing work. This text would not have existed without the comments of my colleagues Sylvain Antichan, Maelle Bazin and Gérôme Truc, the conversations I had with my neighbors, friends, or the visitors to this part of Paris, and, of course, without the support of my family, Renaud, Norah, and Jacob.
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