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Ma(r)king memories: Exploring embodied processes of remembering and forgetting temporal experiences

Steadman, CV and Banister, Emma and Medway, Dominic (2018) Ma(r)king memories: Exploring embodied processes of remembering and forgetting temporal experiences. Consumption, Markets and Culture, 22 (3). pp. 209-225. ISSN 1025-3866

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Abstract

Based on in-depth interviews with nine tattoo consumers, participant observation at a tattoo studio, a tattoo consumption diary, and photography, we investigate embodied processes of remembering and forgetting temporal experiences. We unpick participants’ experiences of combatting the fragility of memory, negotiating which temporal experiences to remember or forget, and constructing temporal order through their tattooed bodies. These insights are enriched theoretically with reference to Ricoeur’s ideas concerning time, narrative, and memory. By focusing upon the embodied dimensions of memory work, we contribute fresh insights into the underexplored relations between bodies, time, and consumer culture. Furthermore, we indicate the continuing significance of temporal continuity, durability, and the past in accelerating Western cultures. Finally, we elucidate the importance of also attending to ‘absences’ in consumer research. We conclude by considering the wider implications of our findings for better understanding an accelerating, liquid, and unstable consumer culture, beyond the context of tattooing.

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