History of Communism in Europe

Volume 6, 2015

(Dis)Embedding. The Institutionalization of the Social Memory of Totalitarian Pasts

Dalia Báthory
Pages 11-20

Authoritarian and Post-authoritarian Practices of Building Collective Memory in Central and Eastern Europe

Among the most used expressions in scholarly articles concerning collective memory, is “dealing with the past”, or its more specific alternative, “dealing with the traumatic past”. This is a rather inexact formulation, because what scholars, artist, curators deal with is not the past in itself but the manner in which it is narrated and represented, or remembered, reconstructed. A series of questions are triggered by this statement: who “remembers”, for what purpose, with what consequences? The scope of this yearbook is to present two different ways of approaching the construction of collective remembrance: the authoritarian one and the post-authoritarian one. Th e articles discuss case studies of collective memory and identity building in Communist Romania, comparative studies of participative art in post-authoritarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, or intricate artistic approaches of traumatic collective memories.