Embodiment and Place in Autobiographical Remembering: A Relational-Material Approach

Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula (2018). Embodiment and Place in Autobiographical Remembering: A Relational-Material Approach. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 25(7/8) pp. 200–224.

Abstract

The relationship between place and remembering has been a longstanding matter of phenomenological concern. The role of the ‘lived body’ in mediating acts of remembering in context is clearly crucial. In this paper we contribute to an ‘expanded view of memory’ by describing how remembering difficult or problematic events – ‘vital memories’ – draws upon inter-subjective and inter-objective relations. We discuss two conceptual tools that provide an analytic framework – the concept of ‘life space’ drawn from Kurt Lewin (1932) and the idea of the ‘setting specificity’ of remembering. From this perspective we can see that the ‘lived body’ does not constitute a singular unity but rather a ‘plurality’ of potential bodies that have ‘operative solidarity’ (cf. Simondon, 2009) with the material relations in which they are constituted. Drawing on the work of Eduardo de Viveiros de Castro, we argue that ‘body memories’ need to be analysed from within the embodied material-relational perspective wherein they are afforded.

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