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Straker, G. (2011). Shaping Subjectivities: Private Memories, Public Archives. Psychoanal. Dial., 21(6):643-657.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 21(6):643-657

Shaping Subjectivities: Private Memories, Public Archives

Gillian Straker, Ph.D.

Psycho-analytically inflected readings of narratives of victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and beneficiaries collected in an apartheid archive project provide understandings of how apartheid shaped subjectivities. These narratives constitute an archive of traumatic affect generated by everyday experiences of racism. They illustrate how racism was promoted by enactments of power differentials in the intimate spaces of home and work.

The power relations implicit in the construction of archives are underscored given that public archives like private memories contour our future remembering. They shape our subjectivities long after living memory of the recorded events is no more. Like all traumatic memories, archived memories run the risk of being dissociated with all that this implies.

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