When and why is the forgotten past recovered? The Battle of Warsaw, 1920 and the role of local actors in the production of memory

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Abstract

Memory scholars mostly agree that although social memory is culturally constructed, political and institutional actors encounter various constraints when adapting the past to their group’s needs and values. The aim of this paper is to revisit this old question of the malleability and persistence of the past but in the context of the intensive memory production that emerged during a period of rapid change in post-communist transitional states. First, the paper probes the question why some collective memories re-emerge after a long period of suppression while others do not. And secondly, it examines the conditions under which local rather than national actors become more successful in recovering the forgotten past. The focus is on Poland; its distinct history of frequent ruptures in the continuity of commemorative tradition not only opens up opportunities for less constrained work of remembrance but also for repositioning the standing of national and local agents of memory production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-190
Number of pages15
JournalMemory Studies
Volume13
Issue number2
Early online date10 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • commemorations
  • heritage industry
  • local politics of memory
  • post-communist Poland
  • production of memory
  • the Battle of Warsaw 1920

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