Constructions and (attempted) deconstructions of 'memory nationalism': Central European lessons

Karner, Christian (2021) Constructions and (attempted) deconstructions of 'memory nationalism': Central European lessons. Journal of Contemporary European Studies . ISSN 1478-2804

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Constructions and (attempted) deconstructions of 'memory nationalism'
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Re-appropriating J.L. Austin’s “speech act theory” for memory studies, this article proposes that “memory acts” describe the work performed by ideologically disparate evocations of different pasts for the purposes of “doing things with cultural memories” in the present. This is used to re-think Avishai Margalit’s distinction between an “ethics-” and a “morality of memory”: through nationalist/ ethnic memory acts the “communities of memory” presupposed by Margalit are constructed; conversely, transnational memory acts are discursive/ symbolic means, through which a dialogical, inter-ethnic morality of memory becomes possible. This is briefly contextualized vis-à-vis seminal scholarship on the nationalist reification of ethno-linguistic boundaries since the late nineteenth century across Habsburg Central Europe and on the limits of this hegemonic “memory nationalism”. The discussion focuses on examples of transnational memory acts evident in Austria since the 1980s and, more narrowly, today. Those include cross-border initiatives, a street magazine, and museum exhibitions dedicated to re-remembering localities and regions outside of the “nation-state container”.

Keywords:memory acts, nationalism, transnationalism, Central Europe, Austria
Subjects:L Social studies > L214 Nationalism
L Social studies > L380 Political Sociology
L Social studies > L241 European Union Politics
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:43573
Deposited On:08 Jan 2021 11:19

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