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Intergenerational transmission of trajectories of suffering in precarious environments

Sarra Chaieb, Christoph H. Schwarz



This article discusses some pivotal questions regarding processes of the intergenerational transmission of trajectories of suffering in precarious places: to what extent can such processes provide resources that foster agency, and to what extent do they rather constitute barriers to living one’s own life? How much do intergenerational relations allow for certain reinterpretations while discouraging or inhibiting others? Which reinterpretations of the older generations’ experiences appear legitimate in certain contexts, and which are rebuked by one’s social environment? In order to pursue these questions we present analyses of two very different cases that are based on two forms of data material – the life story of Emma, a woman in her 50s, and ethno-analytic group interviews with adolescents aged 14 to 20. Both cases are embedded in very different regional and political contexts: the former, in the French system of fostering institutions, and the latter a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank. Both constitute, however, cases of intergenerational transmission of trajectories of suffering. One objective of this article is to illustrate how the contrasting of such cases across different kinds of data and contexts can be heuristically useful for methodologically gauging the spectrum of the ubiquitous and sometimes paradoxical phenomena of intergenerational transmission, in order to further develop its conceptualization.

Keywords: intergenerational transmission, precarious environments, narratives, generations, fostering, refugee camp.


Bibliographie: Chaieb, Sarra/Schwarz, Christoph H.: Intergenerational transmission of trajectories of suffering in precarious environments, ZQF, 1+2-2014, S. 57-77.


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