politics of memory

Twenty Years After Communism: The Methodological Review

Author: Andrzej Paweł Śledź
Institution: Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland)
Year of publication: 2017
Source: Show
Pages: 289-297
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2017220
PDF: ppsy/46-2/ppsy2017220.pdf

The paper is a methodological review essay of Michael Bernhard and Jan Kubik’s comparative study of politics of memory and commemoration in seventeen Central and Eastern European states twenty years after the fall of state socialism. The goal of the essay is to critically examine Bernhard and Kubik’s volume, with a particular focus on the comparative methods they applied to explain how some political and cultural factors at the time of the collapse of communism affected a memory regime in the post-communist democracies. This analysis critically examines four aspects of the study, being: the central theoretical assumptions and contribution in comparative and memory politics; case selection; methodology and data analysis; main findings. Each part includes a summary of the particular aspect of the book, the main strengths and weaknesses, and possible improvements. The review essay emphasis is particularly novel and innovative comparative methodology in studying politics of memory and its universality, suggesting, however, severe problems with a lack of clear and consistent discourse analysis methodology which could affect the quality of final results.

Review Essay: Michael Bernhard & Jan Kubik (Eds.), Twenty Years after Communism: The Politics of Memory and Commemoration. New York: Oxford University Press 2014 (pp. 384). ISBN 9780199375134. Price: £79.00.

The Government’s Remembrance Policy: Five Theoretical Hypotheses

Author: Patryk Wawrzyński
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland)
Year of publication: 2017
Source: Show
Pages: 294-312
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2017119
PDF: ppsy/46-1/ppsy2017119.pdf

Remembrance is a powerful instrument of social mobilisation, identity construction and political competition. Its impact on individual and shared beliefs or attitudes makes it an object of government’s interest, because remembrance can be used to legitimise ideologies or policies. Theoretical considerations of a government’s role as a narrator lead us to the general definition of the government’s remembrance policy, which we understand as a complex of narratives and interpretations presented to influence citizens’ attitudes, behaviours, beliefs and identities. The paper develops the definition with five theoretical hypotheses on the effectiveness of remembrance narratives. It argues that the government’s remembrance policy is myth-motoric, non-scientific, emotional, based on commitment and that it is a type of social influence. The study is an initial verification of theoretical approach, and I believe that my arguments will motivate other researchers to investigate different aspects of a government’s desire to narrate past events. 

Cultural War and Reinventing the Past in Poland and Hungary: The Politics of Historical Memory in East–Central Europe

Author: Attila Ágh
Institution: Corvinus University of Budapest (Hungary)
Year of publication: 2016
Source: Show
Pages: 32-44
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2016003
PDF: ppsy/45/ppsy2016003.pdf

This paper has been based on three assumptions that have been widely discussed in the international political science: (1) there has been a decline of democracy in East–Central Europe (ECE) with the emergence of “velvet dictatorships”, (2) the velvet dictatorships rely on the soft power of media and communication rather on the hard power of state violence that has provoked “cultural wars“ and (3) the basic turning point is the transition from the former modernization narrative to the traditional narrative with “reinventing the past” and “reconceptualising modernity” through the reference to the historically given collective national identity by launching the “politics of historical memory”. The velvet dictatorships have been using and abusing the national history as an ideological drug to consolidate their power. The (social and national) populism and Euroscepticism are the basic twin terms to describe the soft power of the new (semi)authoritarian regimes. They are convertible, the two sides of the same coin, since they express the same divergence from the EU mainstream from inside and outside. Soft power means that the political contest in the new regimes has been transferred from the hard to the soft fields of politics as the fight between the confronting narratives. The victory of the traditionalist–nativist narrative carries also the message that the people are only passive “subjects” and not active citizens, so the field of politics has been extremely narrowed in the “new brave world” in ECE. 

Sites of Memory in the Public Space of Chile and Georgia: the Transition and Pre–Transition Period

Author: Anna Ratke-Majewska
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University (Poland)
Author: Joanna Marszałek-Kawa
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University (Poland)
Year of publication: 2016
Source: Show
Pages: 99-116
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2016008
PDF: ppsy/45/2016008.pdf

By undertaking discussion on the aspect of special forms of commemoration, we may obtain a lot of useful information about the remembrance policy of a given country. That is why the analysis of the issue of the sites of memory seems to be of key importance for understanding problems related to the state’s interpretation of the past from the perspective of an authoritarian regime, political transition and democracy. The aim of this paper is to address one of the elements of a broader issue, i.e. the study of the politics of memory. This element focuses on the presentation of the most significant sites of memory in two countries with the experience of authoritarianism – Chile and Georgia – emphasizing changes which took place in the sphere of commemoration from the beginning of democratic transformation to the moment of achieving full democracy. By describing these places we are showing the main directions and framework assumptions of the remembrance policies of Chile and Georgia, reflected in the form of spatial and visual objects of the “living history”. 

Decommunisation of the Public Space in Post–Euromaidan Ukraine

Author: Antonina Kozyrska
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland)
Year of publication: 2016
Source: Show
Pages: 130-144
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2016010
PDF: ppsy/45/ppsy2016010.pdf

The problem of thorough and ultimate decommunisation in Ukraine got suddenly valid during Euromaidan on the turn of 2013/2014 and after its termination. It became a component of post–revolutionary reforms in the field of policy of memory. A year after Euromaidan Ukraine’s parliament adopted four “decommunisation laws” on 9 April 2015. One of them concerns the condemnation of the Communist regime and prohibition the propaganda of his symbols. The author analysed contents of the law and focused on the results of decommunisation, which included the cleansing the public space from Soviet–era legacy. Full implementation of the law was planned for the year. During this time the goal was almost fully implemented regarding the renaming of many locations and districts. The communist names of thousands streets, squares, urban districts were changed, although this process was delayed. The process of renaming of many institutions, industrial plants and press titles was very slow. 

The Remembrance Policy and Political Identities during Post-Authoritarian Transformations

Author: Anna Wójcik
Institution: Jan Długosz University in Częstochowa (Poland)
Year of publication: 2018
Source: Show
Pages: 147–150
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2018115
PDF: ppsy/47-1/ppsy2018115.pdf

Book Review: Joanna Marszałek-Kawa, Anna Ratke-Majewska & Patryk Wawrzyński, Polityka pamięci i kształtowanie tożsamości politycznej w czasie tranzycji postautorytarnej. Analiza porównawcza (Tom 2). Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Difin 2016 (pp. 167). ISBN 978-83-8085-209-9. Price: 50.00 PLN.

Modernizacja czy kolonizacja? Recepcja okresu radzieckiego w polityce historycznej Kazachstanu i Uzbekistanu

Author: Michał Kuryłowicz
Institution: Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Poland
Year of publication: 2017
Source: Show
Pages: 167-189
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/npw2017410
PDF: npw/15/npw2017410.pdf

The article describes the politics of memory of the Soviet Union in post-soviet Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (1991–2016). The analysis is based on the following documents: Presidents N. Nazarbaev and I. Karimov statements, their publications, the politics of commemoration and historical education in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan after 1991. Author tries to compare two national historical narrations over the Soviet regime and argues that Uzbeks and Kazakhs were used two different approach of criticism of soviet colonialism, related to their foreign policy towards Russia

Cultural Security in the Political Programmes of the Law and Justice

Author: Arkadiusz Lewandowski
Institution: The State University of Applied Sciences in Płock
Year of publication: 2017
Source: Show
Pages: 21-35
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2017.56.02
PDF: apsp/56/apsp5602.pdf

The present paper raises the issue of cultural security in the programme-related ideas conceived by Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (hereinafter referred to as the Law and Justice or – to use an abbreviated term – PiS) in 21st century. In the present paper, the issues related to national identity and national culture were scrutinized, the former and the latter being two constituents of cultural security of the state.
Political programmes of the Law and Justice specified mainly the dangers to national identity in the context of European integration and of striving for the unification of European culture. On the other hand, in the realm of national culture, what was noticed was the phenomenon of neglecting the said issue and not considering it important from the point of view of security of the state.

Role of Emotions and Commitment in an Influence of Remembrance Narratives: Report from the Experimental Study

Author: Patryk Wawrzyński
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
Author: Gabriela Czarnek
Institution: Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Author: Marek A. Muszyński
Institution: Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Author: Ralph Schattkowsky
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
Year of publication: 2015
Source: Show
Pages: 107–116
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2015.48.08
PDF: apsp/48/apsp4808.pdf

The report presents results of the experimental study on relationships between arousal of emotions and commitment, and an effectiveness of the government’s remembrance policy. In measurements, the team manipulated emotions inspired in a narrative (neutral vs. positive vs. negative) and participants’ commitment to popularization of a narrative (no commitment vs. low commitment), and it observed how different conditions influenced independent variables: memorization of information, attitude change and real-life behavior. Besides presentation of collected data, the report also includes brief introduction to the theoretical background of the study (especially theoretical hypotheses which verification was project’s objective) and a short discussion of final results.

Polityka historyczna Federacji Rosyjskiej i Związku Radzieckiego wobec Polski na przykładzie opisu agresji ZSRR na Polskę w świetle narracji podręcznikowej

Author: Stanisław Boridczenko
Institution: Uniwersytet Szczeciński
Year of publication: 2019
Source: Show
Pages: 74-91
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2019.61.05
PDF: apsp/61/apsp6105.pdf

W niniejszym artykule omówiono rosyjską narrację historyczną w rodzimym szkolnictwie. Poruszony temat polega na badaniu polityki historycznej Federacji Rosyjskiej i Związku Radzieckiego. Uwagę skupiono na zawartym w podręcznikach Federacji Rosyjskiej oraz Związku Radzieckiego opisie 17 września 1939 roku. Podstawą analizy stała się szeroko zakrojona kwerenda, w trakcie której zanalizowano teksty obowiązujących od 1954 roku podręczników szkolnych. Główne uzasadnienie podjętej tematyki stanowi cieszący się popularnością w polskiej publicystyce dyskurs nawiązujący do polityki historycznej Rosji. Zgodnie z założeniem artykułu historyczna wiedza przekazywana w szkołach Rosji cechuje się starannym pomijaniem wątków związanych z radziecką agresją na Polskę.

Memory and Politics of Memory in Terms of the Memes Theory. With Reference to an Example of the Idea of Polish Heroism

Author: Anna Ratke-Majewska
Institution: University of Zielona Góra (Poland)
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0845-5061
Year of publication: 2020
Source: Show
Pages: 101-111
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2020108
PDF: ppsy/49-1/ppsy2020108.pdf

The purpose of the article is to verify the hypothesis that the idea of Polish heroism constitutes an effectively duplicating and spreading meme, and stories of the past constructed in the framework of Polish politics of memory will be effective precisely when they refer to memes duplicated most often in the community. The article proves therefore that the Polish state politics of memory should be shaped on the basis of memes that replicate the most in Polish society, because only then does it have a chance to achieve its goals. What is more, this principle can also be applied to other countries that pursue a politics of memory. It was possible to obtain answers to the research questions raised in the text (in order to verify the hypotheses) due to the use of mutually complementary research methods: analysis of narrative structures and content analysis. The article presents the results of the author’s own research with comments and conclusions.

Cold War versus Symbolic Battlefield : The Crisis in Greek-German Relations as a Result of the Dispute over Compensations for WWII and the Way to Overcome It: Case Study

Author: Przemysław Łukasik
Institution: University of Opole
Year of publication: 2020
Source: Show
Pages: 139-159
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2020.68.10
PDF: apsp/68/apsp6810.pdf

It is difficult to speak of a historical dispute in the case of Greek compensation claims for losses suffered during WWII by Nazi Germany. This is because the German side has repeatedly taken responsibility for the harm done to the Greek people. Germany is also a country that has paid over 75 billion in damages by 2016 with various categories of victims from different countries, including Greece (Barcz & Kranz, 2019, p. 155). In the discourse on Greek demands against Germany, metaphors of the Cold War (Kalpouzos, 2015) or a symbolic battlefield (Christodoulakis, 2014, p. 20) appear, suggesting primarily a significant importance of this issue for internal political decisions made at the Acropolis and the local historical awareness. Despite this, since the “outbreak” of this “Cold War” in Germany, both on the political and expert’s levels, and primarily in historical research, many efforts have been made to constructively “resolve the dispute”. In author’s opinion, both terms coined during Greek-German historical controversy characterize duality of position of the contemporary states in discussion about impact of the past on current relations between nations in general. On the one hand, ‘Cold War’ term refers to political and economic levels (compensations demand) of the contemporary historical conflicts. On the other hand, ‘symbolic battlefield’ suggests moral superiority or righteousness on one side.

Music as a Tool of the Politics of Memory

Author: Iwona Massaka
Year of publication: 2011
Source: Show
Pages: 88-103
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2011.29.05
PDF: apsp/29/apsp2905.pdf

The politics of memory is a sociotechnical operation of altering collective memory through the redefinition or removal of issues relating to history and to the image of social components, existing within it, or through the consolidation of such issues as its new, vital parts. This type of politics involves the promotion of those sets of information and interpretations of facts which suit the vision of the state shared by the nation and the ruling elite. The goal of the politics of memory is the integration of the society around the values commonly considered supreme in a given country. The additional goal is the strengthening of the legitimization of power and a subsequent gain of as much acceptance of the existing political order as possible. The tools used in the politics of memory can be categorized into three groups: aural, verbal and visual tools. Sounds and words (written, spoken and sung) constitute symbols which are commonly used in the politics of memory. Symbols, as well as myths, serve as the basis for rituals which, in the politics of memory, serve as key tools aimed at shaping the collective emotions. As a result of sociotechnical operations, symbols become both signifiers of identification and markers of integrity of the social structure. Rituals integrate and mobilize the community, but also serve as means of demonstrating the ruling elite’s power and the enforced social and political order. Music has been emphasized as particularly influential on the general mood of different societies, as this particular tool of the politics of memory has a strong emotional impact on its recipients. In addition, music is highly abstract, which allows it to signify (symbolize) any given content. Th e natural qualities and influence of music, as well as the variety of its styles and genres, combined with the knowledge and experience of the ruling elite, makes it a highly effective tool of the politics of memory.

On the Ukrainian-Polish forum of historians and related insights on policy making and international relations in Central and Eastern Europe

Author: Kyrylo Mieliekiestsev
Institution: Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4931-9576
Year of publication: 2022
Source: Show
Pages: 121-127
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/PPUSN.2022.01.11
PDF: pomi/04/pomi411.pdf

This paper focuses on preserving, translating and analyzing pieces of information on the 2015–2018 Ukrainian- Polish Forum of Historians, allowing for knowledge of this event to be spread beyond Ukraine and Poland. Through this article the author wishes to show that to the governments of Central and Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine and the Republic of Poland, history became a consideration in state policy, due to massive shifts of views on how to approach history between the era of totalitarian Soviet domination and the development of current democratic governments. Although it is something that would be considered outside of state purview in the West, possibly even called “undemocratic”, the government’s interest in how history is told to the population must be viewed in the context of both information warfare, and in how the countries of Central and Eastern Europe approach international relations. Because of this, the Ukrainian-Polish Forum of Historians, organized by Polish and Ukrainian Institutes of National Remembrance (differential in their approaches to what can be considered “shared history”) is of interest as an example of how joint discussions of history, attempts to find a common position, or a compromise, were considered relevant and needed for policy makers in Poland and Ukraine. Analyzing the prerequisites of the events, the topics discussed at the Forum (largely concerning mid-20th century history of Poland and Ukraine), and its results we conclude that, although the differences on how Ukrainian and Polish governments viewed their countries’ history eventually led to the Forum stopping, the initiative led to new actions from independent actors trying to support the idea of shared forgiveness and modern Polish-Ukrainian unity despite different views on various historical events. That shows that politics of memory affect Ukrainian and Polish policymaking, allowing an alternative perspective on the theory of international relations, one that considers not simply realist expectations, but emotional attachments to a country’s past and wishes to see that past respected, or at least not actively opposed, by other nations.

Children and the Politics of Memory: Analysis of the Museum Narrative at the Yad Vashem Institute

Author: Marcin Zaborski
Institution: SWPS University
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9746-9670
Year of publication: 2023
Source: Show
Pages: 60-79
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2023.80.04
PDF: apsp/80/apsp8004.pdf

How does Yad Vashem Institute presents the stories of the youngest participants in the war? What role do children play in its narrative? Do the authors of the exhibition devote separate exhibition to them – or are the children’s fates ‘inscribed’ in the overall message about history? Is the death of victims or the death of heroes at the centre of the message? Is the museum presentation dedicated to specific, individual figures or rather to communities of anonymous participants in wartime events? The author of the article addresses those questions by analysing the narrative line of the Holocaust History Museum (Yad Vashem) in Jerusalem. The research conducted show that the Holocaust story presented in this place focuses on the loss and suffering that resulted in interrupted lives. The perspective of the victims dominates the exhibition analysed. The civilian victims of occupation and Genocide are at the centre of the exhibition.

System polityki historycznej w Polsce między konstytucyjną powinnością a instrumentalizacją prawa

Author: Filip Cyuńczyk
Institution: Uniwersytet SWPS
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2669-7822
Author: Patryk Wawrzyński
Institution: Uniwersytet Szczeciński
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0911-1068
Year of publication: 2024
Source: Show
Pages: 151-165
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2024.01.11
PDF: ppk/77/ppk7711.pdf

The Remembrance Policy in Poland: the System Between the Constitutional Obligation and the Instrumentalization of Law

The paper analyzes relations between the law and the system of politics of memory in Poland, integrating legal and political research. The main objective is a discussion of co-dependencies between the law – including the constitutional law – and the government’s involvement in the politics of memory. The paper summarizes the legal status, the remembrance system’s formal framework and political decisions executing the constitutional obligation of commemorating the past. Considering the complexity of the remembrance policy system in Poland, its foundation in the legal system, and the dynamics of policymaking, the Authors present that the seeming servitude of law to politics is an apparent complex interdependence based on the constitutional bases of memory politics.

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