Learning the Family We Are. the Practice of Home Movies in France

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:45
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Giuseppina SAPIO, University of Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3), France, University Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2), France
My research concerns the evolution in France of home movie filming and watching from the 1960s (Super 8 films) to the present (digital films) and the changes that have affected the family unit during this period. It brings together a theoretical dimension, the symbolic implications of the practice, and an empirical one, the findings emerging from an exploratory case study of six French families shooting home movies. Based on the psychological, social and cultural study of these families, the multidisciplinary approach of this piece, combined with a qualitative methodology (in the form of several in-depth interviews with the members of those families), is meant to explore how family images and conversations help individuals to think about themselves and their roles within their groups. I conceived my field survey as a form of role-play in which the subjects were supposed to show me their home movies and talk about them: I interviewed family members separately about the same home movies in order to find out how people give several interpretations of the same representation of a family event. I will argue that the making of home movies contributes to a family’s sense of self-awareness by introducing a concept that I have named the meta-family. Thanks to the interactions in shooting home movies and the different types of verbalisation, the family is allowed to think about itself. The meta-family is not the real family, shooting or watching images, but represents the conscious and unconscious workings of the family members produced with, and through, the images. The evolution of the technical age and technologies in the practice of home movies has followed, recorded and sometimes predicted those conscious and unconscious changes within the family unit.