Reclaiming the ancestral past: narrative, rhetoric and the ‘convict stain’


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Ronald D. Lambert, “Reclaiming the ancestral past: narrative, rhetoric and the ‘convict stain’,” Portail documentaire EnJeu[x], consulté le 22 février 2024,

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Statut du documentPublic
TitreReclaiming the ancestral past: narrative, rhetoric and the ‘convict stain’
CréateurRonald D. Lambert
TypeJournal Article
AuthorRonald D. Lambert
Type de contenuJournal Article
ISSN1440-7833, 1741-2978
Abstract NoteThis paper reports the arguments used by members of two convictdescendant societies in embracing their convict ancestry. The data are taken from interviews that I conducted in 1999. In the main, respondents were involved in genealogy prior to discovering their or their spouses' convict ancestry. Respondents effectively countered ancestral stigma by making two kinds of argument. In the first, they recast ancestral convicts as: objects of quasi-professional interest; nation-builders; a minority within a multicultural society; collectibles; and embodying ‘interesting stories’. The second type of argument forwarded more particularized treatments of convict ancestors by: minimizing the gravity of their offences; temporally distancing descendants from them; empathizing with them; and claiming their redemption. I offer some concluding thoughts on the sociology of memory and the place of genealogical memory workers within the family.
Access Date2015-07-09 09:55:16
Journal AbbreviationJournal of Sociology
Publication TitleJournal of Sociology
Short TitleReclaiming the ancestral past
TitreReclaiming the ancestral past: narrative, rhetoric and the ‘convict stain’
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