Life stories, war, and veterans: On the social distribution of memories

Edna Lomsky-Feder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


On the basis of examining life stories narrated by 63 Israeli male veterans of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, this article delves into the social construction of personal memory. Focusing on the remembering subject will allow us to study this process by highlighting the agent who creates his or her world, but at the same time it will disclose how society frames and channels the agent's choices. My contention is that personal memory (traumatic or normalizing, conforming or critical) is embedded within, designed by, and derives its meaning from, a memory field that offers different interpretations of war. Yet this memory field is not an open space, and the remembering subject is not free to choose any interpretation he wishes. Cultural criteria "distribute" accessibility to different collective memories according to social entitlement. These "distributive criteria" dictate who is entitled to remember and what is to be remembered, thereby controlling the extent of trauma and criticism of personal memory.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)82-109
Number of pages28
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004


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