Media Remembering: the Contributions of Life-Story Methodology to Memory/Media Research

Jérôme Bourdon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In order to understand the various contributions of life-story methodology to our field, we must first agree to define ‘life story’. I think it would be best to define this as an activity more than a complete verbal (or written) output. To make this clear, let us turn the noun into a verb and refer not only to ‘a life story’, but to ‘life-storying’. Individuals rarely tell their ‘life stories’ from beginning to end, aiming at a coherent, exhaustive narrative. At any rate, exhaustivity is out of reach, although the illusion of a ‘full life story’ is part of our modern individualist ideological baggage (Alasuutari, 1997; Linde, 1993; Ricoeur, 1991). Mostly, in real-life or in artificial research situations, individuals put together ‘some life story’, or, to use the verb we have just suggested, ‘life-story’ when they are prompted to put together narratives about their lives, with a sense of digging in the past. Unsaid or not, ‘I remember’ is the opening sentence of every life-story (or segment of life-story). It is no coincidence if some modernist writers have used this opening statement for their literary work (Brainard, 1970; Perec, 1978). The conscious sense of remembering is remarkable, not the act of remembering itself. The ‘I’ is no less important than the ‘remember’. Any segment of life-story is generally considered as pertaining to an individual, although it is often built through cooperation in conversation (Linde, 1993: esp. ch. 5).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NamePalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
ISSN (Print)2634-6257
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6265


  • Collective Memory
  • Individual Memory
  • Life Story
  • Media Memory
  • Social Framework


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