Moving objects: Memory and material culture
Hills de Zárate, Margaret
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Hills de Zárate, M. (2020) Moving objects: Memory and material culture. In: Burdett, C., Polezzi, L. & Spadaro, B. (eds.) Transcultural Italies: Mobility, Memory and Translation. Liverpool University Press, pp. 155-178.
This chapter focuses on participatory ethnographic research and the role of objects as a vehicle of translation in relation to the transmission of Italian transgenerational identity in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires. It considers a series of objects, the narratives they embody and those they evoke within the context of events, discussion groups and individual interviews with narrator/participants who self-identified as being of Italian descent. I refer to these objects as ‘moving objects’ to include the performative and emphasise their shifting meanings through space and time but also their affective potential. As one thing or object leads to another in a chain of unfolding memories and associations, so, it would seem, does the past with the present and, in the case of the objects discussed, with a sense of what is Italian. With the exception of direct quotes, the terms ‘object’ and ‘thing’ are used interchangeably throughout to reflect a certain fluidity in their use by both participants and different authors.