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A soldier in front of a remembrance poppy

Materiality of Memory: The Case of the Remembrance Poppy

Guest lecture by Kyoko Murakami, Bath University, UK. In this talk Murakami highlights the importance of materiality in memory studies with a focus on the remembrance poppy, an artefact canonical to the practice of commemoration of war and conflict in Britain.


31.10.2019 kl. 14.30 - 16.15


"Poppy Fields"by photoverulam is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0(cropped)

A traditional psychological approach to studying the artefact as a decontextualized subject seems to resort to a simplistic representational model of the object. When used in an art installation in a heritage site, it creates a perceptual field of experiencing the past in an extraordinary manner. I argue that when studying phenomena of collective remembering, it is important to consider the interplay between discourse, materials, body, and environment as the integrated whole. The argument is underpinned by the material view of remembering along with the concept of semiotic mediation. The analysis illustrates the significance of the artefact to the ritual performance and addresses how the artefact can create a semiotic field for meaning construction.


Kyoko Murakami is an honorary research fellow at the Department of Education, University of Bath, UK and teaches psychology courses at Open University, UK. She worked as an Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (2014-19).  Her research focuses on aspects of cognition such as learning, identity and memory, examining language use and social relations in practices of education and discourses of remembering. Her research draws on Discursive Psychology, Cultural Psychology and Discourse Analysis and other qualitative approaches including ethnography. Since 1998 she has been researching on international reconciliation practices such as war grave pilgrimages by British veterans (e.g., 2014, 2018), family reminiscence as memory practice (2017), materiality of memory (2017) and intergenerational succession of memories of catastrophes and disasters in Japan (in progress).  She is an editorial board member for Culture & Psychology and a review editor for Dialogic Pedagogy.


Rendsburggade 14 in room 5.125+5.127

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