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Theses

Matérialisations du souvenir en montagne : les enjeux identitaires des places et des placements

Abstract : This PhD thesis considers objects materialising different kinds of memories in the Western Alps. Despite the great variety of these objects, they share a common specificity: they all enact the idea of mountain,through different shapes and for different reasons. They can be monuments along a trail, a road, a street or inthe middle of a central square in a city commemorating successful ascents, a mountaineering death, or the lifeof a mountain climber, or tombstones shaped like a mountain peak in a cemetery or commemorative plaques nailed on a mountains slope.Questioning the creation of such objects which are all designed in reference to the image of the mountain this research considers the role of spaces and places in identity-making and the process of remembering. I firstpresent an interobjective reading: identifying, spatializing and studying the genealogy of the different ways to showcase memory. Then I move on to an intersubjective reading: how do people in two specific contexts (Bessans in the Haute-Maurienne Valley, Savoie, France, and Chamonix, in the Haute-Arve Valley, Haute-Savoie, France) relate to these objects, whether they interact daily with them or only do so very occasionally ,when they happen to pass by them? This multi-face research method and the places where fieldwork took place have enabled me to understand the processes through which memory is made visible and the rolespaces and places play in such processes, as well as the identity issues linked to them.The central argument is that objects play a key role in the establishment of social relations. They helpto build inner-worlds and they play an active role in the relationships with oneself and with others, alongdifferent scales and different social relations to distance. Souvenirs, as objects of memory, are both the goadand the pointer to the production of identity in a society. From a very small object it is possible to graspseveral issues regarding how a society works, especially through the quest, the gift, the defence of a place.This PhD can be read as an invitation to develop a micro-geography attentive to individuals, to what they say, what they do, what legitimates their place ‑ the place they want to hold and the place they are put in ‑ and to the social relations that can fold and unfold through these objects.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 2:37:28 PM
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Emmanuelle Petit. Matérialisations du souvenir en montagne : les enjeux identitaires des places et des placements. Géographie. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012BOR30039⟩. ⟨tel-00752857v2⟩

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