Memory on My Doorstep

Chronicles of the Bataclan Neighborhood, Paris 2015-2016

Sarah Gensburger

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Monograph - ebook

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In-depth case study of memorialisation processes after the November 2015 Paris attacks

On November 13, 2015, three gunmen opened fire in the Bataclan concert hall at 50 Boulevard Voltaire in Paris and subsequently held the venue under a three-hour siege. This was the largest in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that eventually killed 130 people and injured 500. During the aftermath of these attacks, expressions of mourning and trauma marked and invariably transformed the urban landscape.

Sarah Gensburger, a sociologist working on social memory and its localisation, lives with her family on the Boulevard Voltaire and has been studying the city of Paris as her primary field site for several years. This time, memorialisation was taking place on her doorstep. Both a diary and an academic work, this book is a chronicle of this grassroots memorialisation process and an in-depth analysis of the way it has been embedded in the everyday lives of the author, neighbours, other Parisians and tourists.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer Review Content).

Format: Monograph - ebook

300 pages

ISBN: 9789461662798

Publication: March 29, 2019

Languages: English

Sarah Gensburger is a senior researcher in social sciences at the French National Center for Scientific Research-CNRS and a member of the executive committee of the international Memory Studies Association.
Awkwardly brilliant. This book offers an important intervention
into what it means to create histories of the contemporary.
French Voices Committee


Gensburger’s superb visual ethnography reveals memory as lived and remade in the aftermath of the 2005 Paris terrorist attacks. Her personal and vivid chronicles offer us a radical memory studies that eases by the political limits sometimes imposed by traditional academic culture and form. Gensburger’s finely attuned sociological gaze finds the city not in the paralysis of terror’s shadow, but rather active in mobilised memorialisation, and deserving of our attention. 
Andrew Hoskins, University of Glasgow


Gensburger is a careful observer, as well as a well-read one, and with a relatively light touch she is able to present the memorial efforts, the changes to them, and the tensions and cleavages that the memorialization reveals. […] This book is unusual—in style, content, and tone. The material is inherently fascinating, and the questions at the heart of the book are crucial. This is a terrific, unique book.
Scott Straus, University of Wisconsin–Madison


La mémoire est en vogue. Et pourtant, rares sont les travaux qui s’attaquent au cœur de ce phénomène : la mémoire vive. L’ouvrage dont il est ici question fait exception. Consacré aux chroniques sociologiques d’un quartier situé entre la place de la République et la salle du Bataclan, de décembre 2015 à septembre 2016, il interroge les pratiques sociales liées à la mémoire des attentats perpétrés à Paris. Sur le plan de la forme, l’ouvrage est un petit bijou. Truffé de photographies, éclairé par plusieurs cartographies, il livre des questionnements qui débordent de loin la gestion mémorielle des attentats perpétrés le 7 janvier 2015 dans les bureaux du journal satirique Charlie Hebdo et le 13 novembre 2015 au Bataclan. 
Valérie Rosoux, Droit et Société, 06/03/2018