Family Narratives

Exercise description


Everyone has ten minutes to think about and note down an outline of narratives they heard in their family about the Second World War and the wars of the 1990s. Additional questions:

  • What were the stories told in your family about the Second World War and the recent wars?
  • Who did you hear these stories from?
  • Were there any differences between the narratives and what were they?
  • What side was ‘ours’ and who were the ‘others’?
  • What were the images of the other?

Then they discuss in small groups (of four or five people).



The discussion in the plenary that follows starts with an emotional evaluation and then goes on to link the dominant collective narratives and family narratives. Questions for the discussion: “Is there a link between narratives from the Second World War and those from the recent wars? What is the relationship between family narratives and the dominant narrative in society?”


Justlike with the previous exercise, some theoretical knowledge about the meaning and role of collective narratives is needed. Both exercises can be done one after the other, or separately, as needed.

Possible difficulties:

Related Workshops:

Dealing with the past

Workshop example:

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