Memory Work

  • Lia BryantEmail author
  • Katerina Bryant
Reference work entry


Memory work is a methodology and method first introduced by Frigga Haug and others in Germany and appeared in academic publications in the 1980s. As an approach to data collection, memory work involves writing a memory in the third person in relation to a question or theme. The methodology and method was used with groups of women to examine power relations through writing and analyzing specific situations. Memory work is an approach that enables emotions to come to the fore, particularly emotions that are not easily voiced. Through processes of writing in the third person and time for analysis and rewriting, the approach provides distance and space for the emotional and sensory to emerge. Memory work facilitates the discovery of the tangible and intangible aspects of sensations that may not emerge from other qualitative methods like semi-structured interviews. In this chapter, the research processes for using memory work are outlined and contextualized in relation to working with individual participants and groups. Processes for analyzing memories are explained and examined as are the ethical dimensions of writing, sharing, analyzing, and publishing memories that have arisen from groups or participants.


Memory work Collective analysis Ethics Reflexivity Social transformation Living historically 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, Centre for Social ChangeUniversity of South AustraliaMagillAustralia
  2. 2.Department of English and Creative WritingFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia

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