Memory Politics, Cultural Heritage and Peace: Introducing an Analytical Framework to Study Mnemonic Formations
Research Cluster on Peace, Memory & Cultural Heritage Working Paper Series, No. 1
18 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2018
Date Written: October 2017
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.
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