This presentation analyses the complex workings of social categories in constructions of (be)longing in memories of young university students in Bolivia and Peru. In a methodology course the participants explored how socio economic and socio cultural differences had affected the lives of the participants and how meaning making connected to social categories express themselves in language. Two different methodological approaches were in play; Memory Work (Haug 1987, 1992, Haug et al 1994, Hee Pedersen 2008, Hyle et. al 2008, Wiederberg 2011) and Collective Biographies (Davies 2000a, 2000b, Davies & Gannon 2006). Memory-work is a collaborative methodology which has a lot to offer when it comes to understanding the processes through which we make sense of the social and constructed feelings of (be)longing. The method integrates an explicit wish for change of dominant social structures, while it at the same time collaboratively produces insights into how we as individuals participate in the productions of oppressive relations in relation to powerful social categories. The question, which propelled the two stories analysed was: Describe a situation where you for the first time became aware of yourself belonging to a specific social or racial group. (Be)longing to a specific gendered and radicalised body constitutes in the analysis of these stories an excellent “location,” from which to analyse how socio/cultural and socio/economic categories like class, nationality and age intersect with one another and consequently widen and/or diminish possibilities for legitimate belonging to society (Anthias, 2005:17). Each memory becomes an opportunity to collectively critically deconstruct naturalised processes of interpretation. It invites the participants to explore human dialogues, mediated by texts, as a way to produce insights and consciousness about the socio-cultural impact of sense making processes.
Örecomm Festival 2013 Conference Proceedings: Memory on Trial: Media, Citizenship and Social Justice, 2013
memory; methodology; narrative; belonging; social constructionism; dialogic theory