Taking the soldier home: Sustaining the domestic presence of absent fallen soldiers in Israel

Osnat Shalev Nizri, Carol A. Kidron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents the lived memory work of Israeli bereaved parents who preserve the bedrooms of their children—fallen soldiers—intact after their deaths. Ethnographic semi-structured interviews and participant observation in the rooms point to an assemblage of interwoven practices that sustain the presence of the dead in the family lifeworld. Enactment of past habitual embodied movement, person-object interaction, and familial roles within the domestic architecture that housed the deceased sustain virtual presence. Removal from view of military objects signifying death, and modulated incorporation of new life in the room forestall cracks in virtuality of presence and temporal absencing, ushering the dead into familial futures. Reconceptualizing livedmemory as the manipulation of temporal stasis and continuity to (re)generate presence rather than represent/commemorate absence and loss, raises questions regarding the dialectical relations between lived memory and public commemoration and the salutary potential of continuing bonds with loved ones.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMemory Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The second author received funding from the Israel Science Foundation 1273/18.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • commemoration
  • continuing bonds
  • death
  • lived memory
  • presence of absence
  • temporality
  • virtuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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