Connecting dots: A British Family in Reminiscence

Kyoko Murakami & Rachel L. Jacobs, University of Bath, UK/University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Reminiscence is a self-reflecting process on past events and experiences. Not only does it enable past experiences to be brought to light through talk, but it also creates an affective environment, which allows participants to explore and construct a representation of the self (Buchanan and Middleton, 1995). A reminiscence conversation is a dynamic talk-in-interaction, which can produce valuable learning experience for the participants involved. Reminiscence talk contains rich, personal, historic data that can reveal and inform family members of an unknown past. In this presentation, we shall present a discursive approach, a methodology that captures the dynamics of reminiscence. We analyse collected conversational data of British family members reminiscing their past as a joint family activity. Through such talk-in-interaction, the family members develop continuity in the family history. We shall explore how intergenerational relationships are formed through associations with membership categories and can reveal how vital information is passed onto future generations. Unlike conventional reminiscence used for therapeutic purposes, family reminiscence is a learning practice of connecting the dots of recalled moments of individual family members lives and is geared toward building a family’s shared future for posterity.