This panel will examine memories and contemporary reflections on deindustrialization and the proliferation of economic insecurity. The primary ethnographic focus is on memory practices and contemporary experiences relating to objects of industrial decline.
This panel will examine memories of work and contemporary reflections on deindustrialization and the proliferation of economic insecurity. Memoryscapes that articulated a longing for a sense of purpose have been reflected on from late 1980s onwards. A significant number of these memories relate to factories that not only provided jobs, but also a sense of security and communality that in some cases extended over generations. What we are witnessing lately are changes caused, presumably, by a certain transformation in memory work, alongside the successful commodification of memories and their use for political purposes. On the other hand, these changes are the result of clash between available and often sharply contradicting competing versions of history that made certain communities even more vulnerable after the 2008 economic crisis. The narrative of a proud worker and the factory (s)he understood in familial terms is being either refined, reshaped, or abandoned, giving way to emerging new personal and communal identities. The primary interest of this panel is in ethnographic and strongly contextualized research on memory practices and contemporary experiences relating to objects of industrial decline, such as factories, collieries and shipyards. The organization of this panel has been funded by the projects TRANSWORK (HRZZ, IP-2016-06-7388) and "Transformation from Below" (DFG)