Refereed article in compilation book (A3)

Approaching Localized Politics of European Memories

List of AuthorsSalmi-Niklander Kirsti, Savolainen Ulla, Taavetti Riikka, Laine Sofia, Salmesvuori Päivi

EditorsKirsti Salmi-Niklander, Sofia Laine, Päivi Salmesvuori, Ulla Savolainen, Riikka Taavetti

Publication year2022

Book title *Friction, Fragmentation, and Diversity: Localized Politics of European Memorie

Title of seriesHeritage and Memory Studies

Start page9

End page23







During the past four decades memory has probably become the most influential and widely adopted term to describe the complex of temporal, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, material, and political manifestations and uses of the past in present. This collection focuses on localized politics of memories in various European contexts. It will attend to diverse memories related to the historical events and time periods in Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Finland, Germany, and Turkey by focusing on the interplay, tension, and negotiation between various scales of memory (see De Cesari & Rigney 2014).

The term “politics of memory” often refers to the quiddity and instrumentality of memory. Jan Kubik and Michael Bernhard (2014) argue that a political science interpretation of the politics of memory is limited to the analysis of deliberate actions to make us remember in a certain way. Emphasized here is the manipulation of memory, particularly by states and other official actors. (For a discussion of Kubik and Bernhard's model from a Baltic perspective in particular, see Pettai 2016.) In an introduction to politics of memory and life writing in Eastern Europe, Simona Mitroiu (2015, 8, 16) argues that the concept of memory politics refers to state involvement in analyzing and preserving the past, as well as to systems of justice and “political responsibility for the past.”

In this volume, however, we understand the concept of politics more broadly. In our utilization, “politics” in “politics of memory” refers to politicization, of becoming political and contested. In relation to memory, this politicization means that the past is opened as debated (Palonen 2003). These competing interpretations of the past also have political connotations for struggles over possible futures. Processes of politicization occur on different levels, from everyday interaction and diverse cultural representations to politics of the archive and politics as legal processes. In the chapters included in the present volume, the politicization of memories takes place on multiple analytical levels: those inherent to the sources; how the collections utilized, archived, or presented are gathered; and those involved with re-evaluating existing research. Moreover, politics of memory is the topic of study in a number of the analyses that address the processes of remembering, how memories become contested, and how they are debated in different contexts and between various scales.

Last updated on 2022-19-12 at 10:32