By Welch, Edward; Barnet, Marie-Claire
'Famille, je vous ai (encore et toujours a l'esprit?), je vous aime un peu, beaucoup, ou je vous hais enormement?' What are households like in modern France? And what starts to emerge after we think of them from the perspective of modern theoretical views: (faulty) harmony, (fake) coherence, (carefully deliberate or subversive) deconstruction, loss (of love, self belief or credibility), or, even (utter) chaos and (alarming) confusion? Which media revamp previous stereotypes, generate substitute reinterpretations, and indicate extra ambiguous solutions? What photographs, scenes or frames stand out in modern representations of the family members? Uneasy contradictions and ambiguities emerge during this bilingual number of ways and style experiences. The relatives plot turns out to thicken as family members ties seem to loosen. Has 'the relatives' been misplaced from sight, or is it being reinvented in our collective imaginary? This ebook proposes a brand new sequence of views and questions about an outdated and 'familiar' subject, exploring the kingdom and standing of the kinfolk in modern literature, tradition, serious and psychoanalytic concept and sociology
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Extra info for Affaires de famille : the family in contemporary French culture and theory
It is practised as a site of tension, always tenuous, always at risk, necessitating incessant effort. Pierre Saint-Amand, one of the numerous analysts of photography as family practice, explores the family photograph in a way which is relevant to my discussion. He reminds us that photography provides family with ‘son unité rêvée’ and ‘sa raison d’être’: ‘Elle confirme le lien du groupe. ’ 16 Like the family portrait these texts are mourning the family even as they attempt to record it. Thematically and structurally they attempt repeatedly to resort to the mechanisms of cohesion through which family is routinely performed.
The fault is partly Fanny’s – or at least we can see where she does things that don’t exactly help her cause; and this allows Ndiaye to illuminate significant patterns of social behaviour. For example, Fanny decides opportunistically to carry out Tante Colette’s instruction that she should give up thoughts of Eugène and take up again with her black teenage boyfriend, Georges, from the urban estate where she had lived with her mother. But dragging Georges out of his ‘cité’, to the chagrin of his mother, and exposing him to the racial abuse he receives in the village supermarket where Fanny gets him a job, is not fair to Georges, especially since Fanny’s true objective is to be able to revel in her new, white, countenance, and to contrast herself with her dusky consort.
Darrieussecq explains that she conceives her entire writing project as textual accretions around a ‘trou noir’ – an absence or an obscene secret beyond articulation – in this instance the loss of a brother/son and the recovery of his sea-changed body. 19 In Bref séjour, this most key of family memories is taboo: ‘Ce à quoi [Madame Johnson] n’a pas le droit de penser. Ce à quoi personne ne doit savoir qu’elle pense encore, minute par minute, dans le trame de tout le reste’ (BS 62). ‘Comme toute histoire, celle de la famille se raconte’ remarks Le Wita, 20 but the Johnson family cannot narrate 18 Darrieusssecq, Bref séjour chez les vivants, p.