The toy as a support for the family memory

Sandrine Vincent, ” The role of the toy in the family memory or how toys end up their life ? “, Dialogue, 2001

Have we not all kept at the bottom of a trunk, a closet, the attic or the cellar, a toy, a witness of our childhood ? Remember this scene from the film Amelie, in which, on learning of the death of Lady Diana, Amélie drops a object in his bathroom, which, rolling on the floor descelle a tile that, once removed, uncovers a stash of child. She finds a box full of memories of children…And well, yes, these toys of yesteryear preserved with care can be a subject for sociology.

In examining the reasons why some toys don’t end up in the trash but instead at the bottom of a trunk full of treasures, Sandrine Vincent, in the article that I propose to you this week, underscoring their role in the construction of family memory.

The interviews that she conducted show that, regardless of their socio-cultural environment, or their level of resources, parents and children attach great importance to the toys, to the point of not being able to frequently or throw them out or replace them. Thus, even when it is no longer used, the toy is very rarely intended in the trash : given to an association, stored in a cardboard box, exposed on the shelves of a library or sitting on the bed, everything is good for this toy, except the garbage.

Sandrine Vincent shows that the toys that are kept are especially those of early childhood, that is to say, the first with which it is amused, which correspond to a period of the existence properly buried.

On the other hand, it puts forward that it is mainly the parents that maintain toys of their children, which may be explained by the fact that the toys, beyond the memories of children, express the descent. They allow parents to mark a certain continuity between the children they were and the children that they continue to be through their children. In this respect, some parents “bequeath” their toys to their children. Toys can also help to evoke the grand-parents missing and thus retain, in them, the memory of the ancestors. The toys are involved in the transmission of family memory. Know the family origin of the toys takes all its importance when the children grow up. The toys reflect the special relationships that the adults of today had the more often with their grandparents.

“The toys mark the continuity from one generation to the other and register the child in the lineage, it means or reminds him of his individual identity, and family “. The same as the photo albums or the ” paper family “, the toys crystallize the family affiliation.

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