Memory Politics, Cultural Heritage and Peace: Introducing an Analytical Framework to Study Mnemonic Formations

Annika Björkdahl, Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Stefanie Kappler, Johanna Mannergren Selimovic, Timothy Williams, Research Cluster on Peace, Memory and Cultural Heritage Working Paper No 1, 2017.

Posted: 19 Dec 2017

See all articles by Annika Björkdahl

Annika Björkdahl

Lund University - Department of Political Science

Susanne Buckley-Zistel

Center for Conflict Studies

Stefanie Kappler

Durham University

Timothy Williams

University of Marburg - Center for Conflict Studies

Johanna Mannergren Selimovic

Utrikespolitiska Institutet

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Date Written: December 14, 2017

Abstract

This working paper presents an analytical framework for assessing how memory politics impacts on the quality of peace in societies transitioning from conflict. The framework captures the inherent fluidity and friction of memory politics and can be used to develop a typology of memory regimes. The multidimensional framework is based on a constructivist epistemology that acknowledges the performative capacity of discourses, material manifestations, practices and agentive subjects. It is designed around four conceptual points of entry reflected in the acronym SANE: sites; agents narratives; and events. We study the interaction of sites, agents, narratives and events as ‘mnemonic formations’, i.e. a cluster that shapes the memory politics around a salient issue, phenomenon or event of the conflict. We illustrate this framework with references to mnemonic formations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cyprus, South Africa and Rwanda. The mnemonic formations referred to in this working paper are considered as diagnostic sites from which we can draw wider conclusions on how memory politics impacts on peacebuilding and transitional justice. Our ambition is to lay out a grid for a comparative analysis through which we can develop a typology of memory regimes and assess the impact of commemoration on the quality of peace, measured in terms of inclusivity, pluralism and human dignity.

Keywords: memory, cultural heritage, peace, conflict, violence, transitional justice, memorials

JEL Classification: K 14

Suggested Citation

Björkdahl, Annika and Buckley-Zistel, Susanne and Kappler, Stefanie and Williams, Timothy and Selimovic, Johanna Mannergren, Memory Politics, Cultural Heritage and Peace: Introducing an Analytical Framework to Study Mnemonic Formations (December 14, 2017). Annika Björkdahl, Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Stefanie Kappler, Johanna Mannergren Selimovic, Timothy Williams, Research Cluster on Peace, Memory and Cultural Heritage Working Paper No 1, 2017.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3088047

Annika Björkdahl

Lund University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 52
Lund
Sweden

Stefanie Kappler

Durham University ( email )

Old Elvet
Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3HP
United Kingdom

Timothy Williams

University of Marburg - Center for Conflict Studies ( email )

Ketzerbach 11
Marburg, 35032
Germany

Johanna Mannergren Selimovic

Utrikespolitiska Institutet ( email )

102 51 Stockholm
Sweden

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