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Simpson, Edward (2020) 'Forgetfulness without memory: Reconstruction, Landscape and the Politics of Everyday in Post-Earthquake Gujarat, India.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 26 (4). pp. 786-804.

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For many good reasons, after natural disasters it is common to work with ‘memory’ as part of a collective catharsis and a globalized humanitarian logic. Long‐term anthropological research on the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, however, also demonstrates the significance of forgetting in local practice. Immediately after the disaster, people vowed to abandon the sites of their loss, leave the ruins as monuments, and rebuild anew on safer ground. In time, though, life returned to the ruins as the terrible proximity of death receded, as memories and new salience were shaped by acts of reconstruction. The article explores some of the political and social factors that make this form of forgetting possible – or even necessary. Evidence of earlier earthquakes in the same region indicates that such ‘forgetting’ has an established history. Together, ethnographic and archival materials combine to cast doubt over the emphasis on ‘remembering’ as the only ‘memory solution’ to suffering.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 13590987
Copyright Statement: © 2020 The Authors. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Anthropological Institute This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2020 09:11
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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