Disrupted Genealogies and Generational Conflicts: Postmemorial Family Narratives

  • Alison Ribeiro de Menezes


A considerable number of the works on war and dictatorship memory that have appeared in Spain since the turn of the millennium involve family narratives and a focus on the intimate domain of the home. A common characteristic of many these is a focus on generational perspectives, silences or ruptures in family heritage, and the desire to repair those genealogies. These are issues that have been theorized by Marianne Hirsch under the notion of postmemory. As a theory of intergenerational transfer, postmemory derives from a particular theory of photography, that of Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida. From this, Hirsch takes two elements: the notion of the punctum, and the idea that the photograph works not through the discourse of artistic representation, but indexically as an emanation of the referent, or as its ghostly revenant. If the punctum “disturbs the flat immobile surface of the image, embedding it in an affective relationship of viewing and thus in a narrative,” it also “interrupts this contextual and therefore narrative reading of the photograph that Barthes calls the studium.” Hence, in the dialogue between the visual and the textual that characterizes Barthes’s discussion of his mother’s photograph in Camera Lucida, “text and image, intricately entangled in a narrative web, work in collaboration to tell a complicated story of loss and longing.”1


Camera Lucida Intergenerational Transfer Memory Icon Family Dysfunctionality Generational Conflict 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Alison Ribeiro de Menezes 2014

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  • Alison Ribeiro de Menezes

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