Sociology has focused predominantly upon ‘collective memories’ and their impact on social continuity and change, while relegating individual memories to the status of an empirical data resource for research on experiences and identity construction or maintenance. This article suggests, however, that sociology has overlooked the part individual memories play in social production. It applies a post-anthropocentric, new materialist ontology, in which bodies, things, social formations, ideas, beliefs and memories can all possess capacities to materially affect and be affected. To explore the part that personal memory can play in producing the present and hence the future, data from in-depth interviews in a study of adults’ food decision-making and practices are reported. Personal memories deriving from earlier events affect current food practices, and these contribute to the materiality of people’s consumption of food stuffs. The article concludes by reflecting on the wider importance of personal memory for sociological inquiry and memory studies.
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- Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences - Professor of Sociology
- School of Human and Health Sciences
- Centre for Citizenship, Conflict, Identity and Diversity