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History of France and Family Memory: Interlacing and Variations in Appropriation Under Socio-Historical Constraints

Marie-Laetitia des Robert

To feel that one is French and to raise oneself on or peripheral to the foundations of this reference is the result of an individual, social, and group construction in which the family plays a definite role. More especially, the collective memory built up from the interlacing of one’s forebears’ biography with national history and its role in developing feelings of membership in French society will differ significantly according to the socio-historical context. The model of strong convergence and memorative appropriation that ensured identification through filiation during the 1919-1939 interwar period gave way, amongst natives born after 1940, to relationships modified by the interlacing of ancestral history with national history, along the lines of four typical configurations. The memorative model has triumphed over the historical model: priority is now given to the right to inventory and to individualization.