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Introduction: Family as Memory

Denise Lemieux, Éric Gagnon

It may seem strange to be interested in family memory in the Western world at the turn of the twenty-first century. What memory could it be, in a society turned towards the present and where the family seems more concerned with the happiness of its members than with the perpetuation of its inheritance? Is memory not reserved for the « traditional » family concerned about ensuring its continuity and its own reproduction? Is it not reduced, in the « modern » family, to the evocation of memories full of nostalgia during parties and meetings? Yet memory remains an important dimension of family life and a constitutive dimension of any relationship of descent; it is even central to the formation of the individual as a differentiated and autonomous being, as Vincent de Gaulejac shows in the article that opens this issue of Enfances, Familles, Générations. This is what the articles published here, all from French-speaking countries, help to recall, while underlining the transformations experienced and continued to be experienced by family memory in Western countries.