Association pour l’anthropologie du changement social et du développement
Association for the anthropology of social change and development

Popular Snapshots and Tracks to the Past.

Eds. D. de Lame and C. Rassool. Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities, vol. 171.

Flexible, informal appropriations of individual creations can combine with other elements and produce specific strategic positioning, act as markers in power games and rally partisans. Yet, in essence they do not have this function. In the first place, appropriations are acts of creation in their own right; they are « expressive acts ». Accordingly, they are comparable with many other collective expressions of belonging that reaffirm the existence of a community and testify to its capability of assimilating novelty and (re)building the past. In this respect, popular cultural expressions do not differ fundamentally from collective rituals, where memory is enacted and modified through creative changes enabling the social assimilation of novelty. Objects, texts, sets of norms, and museums are like snapshots open to interpretation, ready for recycling.