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History, Memory and Politics in Central and Eastern Europe

Memory games

edited by: Georges Mink, Laure Neumayer
published by
: Palgrave Macmillan
Kindle $69.16 | Hardcover $96.54

Book's frontpage

Twenty years after the end of communism, the history of Central and Eastern Europe still sparks intense discussions in the former Soviet bloc, as contested memories, primarily about communist repression and WWII, are relived. This volume goes beyond the state-centred approach that so often characterises the study of memory-issues in post-communist countries and highlights two interrelated factors that account for the recent proliferation of memory games in Central and Eastern Europe including, but not limited to, the growth in number of political and social actors who try to elaborate and impose new memory norms into society and the 'internationalization' of conflicted memories. In contrast to a narrow understanding of 'transitional justice', this collection of fourteen case studies situates conflicts around painful histories within the 'ordinary' operating of post-communist societies, concentrating on games played by political and administrative elites, activists and professional groups in various local, national and European venues.


Table of contents

List of Illustrations
General Editor’s Preface
Notes on Contributors

Introduction by Georges Mink and Laure Neumayer

Part I:   Mobilizations around Memory: New Actors, New Issues

1.  Cécile Jouhanneau:  Would-be Guardians of Memory: An Association of Camp Inmates of the 1992–95 Bosnian War under Ethnographic Scrutiny    
2.  Kathy Rousselet:  The Russian Orthodox Church and Reconciliation with the Soviet Past
3.  Machteld Venken:  ‘You Still Live Far from the Motherland, but You Are Her Son, Her Daughter.’ War Memory and Soviet Mental Space (1945–2011)  
4.  Eva Fisli and Jocelyn Parot:  Pilgrimages to the Edge of the Fallen Empire – An Anthropological Study of Finnish and Hungarian Pilgrimages to Second World War Memorials in Post-Soviet Russia   
5.  Sarah Fainbergv:  Memory at the Margins: The Shoah in Ukraine (1991–2011)          

Part II:   Memory Policies and Historical Narratives: How Do States Deal with Memories of the Past?

6.  Irmina Matonyte:  The Elites’ Games in the Field of Memory: Insights from Lithuania       
7.  Tatiana Kasperski:  The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident and Identity Strategies in Belarus       
8.  Filipa Raimundo:  Dealing with the Past in Central and Southern European Democracies: Comparing Spain and Poland 
9.  Georges Mink:  Institutions of National Memory in Post-Communist Europe: From Transitional Justice to Political Uses of Biographies (1989–2010)       

Part III:   International Norms and ‘Geopolitics of Memory’

10.  Tatiana Zhurzhenko:  Memory Wars and Reconciliation in the Ukrainian–Polish Borderlands: Geopolitics of Memory from a Local Perspective           
11.  Pascal Bonnard:  Memory of the Soviet Union and European Norms on Diversity as Rival Frameworks for Ethnic Boundary Making: A Case Study in Latvia’s Russian-speaking Schools     
12.  Laure Neumayer:  Symbolic Policies versus European Reconciliation: The Hungarian ‘Status Law’   
13.  Guillaume Mouralis:  The Rejection of International Criminal Law in West Germany after the Second World War 
14.  Philippe Perchoc:  History as a Tool for Foreign Policy in the Baltic States after Independence       

Conclusion by Georges Mink and Laure Neumayer

About the Contributors

Pascal Bonnard is a teaching academic assistant at the College of Europe in Natolin, Poland. He holds a PhD in political science from Sciences Po Paris.

Sarah Fainberg
is Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Civilizationat Georgetown University, USA. She specializes in Soviet studies and Eastern European Jewish history. Her dissertation on Soviet discriminatory practices against Jews in the Brezhnev era was published in 2012.

Eva Fisli is a curator at the Hungarian National Museum and responsible for its international photo collection. She holds a PhD in political science from Sciences Po Paris and ELTE Budapest. Her current research interests are photography and war memory, political uses of the past and history of photography.

Cécile Jouhanneau is a PhD candidate in political science at Sciences Po Paris and Paris Ouest University. She was also an adjunct instructor (ATER) at the Sorbonne University in 2011–12. Her research focuses on post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a special interest in the sociology of war memories and the circulation of norms and institutions of post-conflict justice.

Tatiana Kasperski holds a PhD in political science from Sciences Po Paris, where she defended her dissertation titled ‘The Politics of Mem-ory of a Nuclear Disaster: The Political Uses of the Chernobyl Accidentin Belarus, 1986–2008’. She is also a lecturer in political science atthe European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania. Her research interests concern the comparative politics of technology, memory and disasters.

Irmina Matonyte is Professor of Political Science at ISM University of Management and Economics, Vilnius, Lithuania. Her major research fields include post-Communist elites, Europeanization of the CEE countries, political communication and governance.

Georges Mink is the former director of the French Center for Research in Social Sciences in Prague. He is a senior researcher at CNRS and Director of Studies at the College of Europe. He currently teaches at Sciences Po Paris, and the College of Europe (Natolin). He specializes in Central European social and political systems and in European studies.

Guillaume Mouralis is a historian, researcher at CNRS and member of the Institute for Social Sciences of Politics at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. He specializes in history and sociology of law and in contemporary German history. His most recent book focuses on purges after German unification, in particular he is currently working on a social history of thema in Nuremberg Trial.

Laure Neumayer is a lecturer in political science at University Paris Panthéon Sorbonne. She has published several articles on the Europeanization of Central European political systems. Her current research focuses on memory related policies in the European Union.

Jocelyn Parot holds a master’s degree in political science from Sciences Po Paris. As a PhD candidate at Sciences Po Paris and at the University of Helsinki, he spent several years studying collective memory phenomena in Finland, with a particular focus on associations of war veterans and former Communists.

Philippe Perchoc is a teaching assistant at the College of Europe - General Studies Program (Brugge) and at the Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis (Brussels). He graduated in history from Université Paris Panthéon Sorbonne and King’s College London, and in European Union studies from the Université Catholique de Louvain and from Sciences Po Paris. His PhD thesis (2010) dealt with the foreign policy of the Baltic states after 1991. He has published studies on memory issues in the Baltic states and the European Parliament.

Filipa Raimundo
is a PhD candidate at the European University Institute (Department of Social and Political Sciences), where she will soon defend her dissertation titled ‘Post-transitional Justice? Spain, Polandand Portugal compared’. She is the co-author of ‘Decision-making in Fascist-era Dictatorships’ (2009).

Kathy Rousselet is a senior researcher at Sciences Po (Centre d’Etudeset de Recherches Internationales) and works on social and religious transformations in post-Soviet Russia.

Machteld Venken
holds an MA in Slavic studies and a PhD in history from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. She is currently a senior post doctoral researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for European History and Public Spheres in Vienna. Her current research is on war memories of children in European borderlands.

Tatiana Zhurzhenko is an Elise Richter Research Fellow at the Institute of Political Science, University of Vienna, where she works on her habilitation about politics of memory in the post-Soviet borderlands.



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