By Sharon Macdonald

Memorylands is an unique and interesting research of the character of historical past, reminiscence and understandings of the earlier in Europe this present day. It appears at how Europe has develop into a ’memoryland’ – suffering from fabric reminders of the prior, reminiscent of museums, historical past websites and memorials; and at how this ‘memory phenomenon’ is expounded to the altering nature of identities – in particular eu, nationwide and cosmopolitan. In doing so, it presents new insights into how reminiscence and the prior are being played and reconfigured in Europe – and with what results.

Drawing specifically, even though now not completely, on situations, innovations and arguments from social and cultural anthropology, Memorylands argues for a deeper and extra nuanced knowing of the cultural assumptions eager about on the subject of the previous. It theorizes some of the ways that ‘materializations’ of identification paintings and relates those to diversified types of id inside Europe. The ebook additionally addresses questions of method, together with dialogue of ancient, ethnographic, interdisciplinary and cutting edge equipment. via a wide-range of case-studies from throughout Europe, Sharon Macdonald argues that Europe is domestic to a far better variety of the way of constructing the previous current than is mostly learned – and a better diversity of sorts of ‘historical consciousness’. whilst, in spite of the fact that, she seeks to spotlight what she calls ‘the ecu reminiscence advanced’ – a repertoire of time-honored styles in types of recollection and ‘past presencing’.

The examples in Memorylands are drawn from either the margins and metropolitan centres, from the really small-scale and native, the nationwide and the avant-garde. The e-book appears to be like at pasts which are almost certainly identity-disrupting – or ‘difficult’ – in addition to those who verify identities or supply chances for transcending nationwide identities or articulating extra cosmopolitan futures. issues coated comprise authenticity, temporalities, embodiment, commodification, nostalgia and Ostalgie, the musealization of daily and folk-life, Holocaust commemoration and tourism, narratives of battle, the historical past of Islam, transnationalism, and the way forward for the earlier.

Memorylands is engagingly written and available to basic readers in addition to delivering a brand new synthesis for complicated researchers in reminiscence and history reviews. it really is crucial interpreting for these attracted to identities, reminiscence, fabric tradition, Europe, tourism and heritage.

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Additional resources for Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today

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His response is to blame historians for the view of the past as ‘foreign and exotic’, as a place that ‘frustrates understanding: its events seem unfathomable, its denizens inscrutable’ (1998: xiv). ‘I suspect’, he then adds, ‘that few take historians’ cautions to heart’: ‘[p]robably most people, most of the time, view the past not as a foreign but as a deeply domestic realm’ and for them heritage is fundamentally concerned with ‘domesticating the past’ (1998: xv). P. Hartley that provides his title: ‘The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there’ (quoted in Lowenthal 1985: xvi).

Most of these were modelled on those that were part of the earlier ‘identikit’ of ways of symbolising national identity (Macdonald 1993). They included a flag, with 12 gold stars on a blue background. According to the official account by the Council of Europe, this was chosen because: Twelve was a symbol of perfection and plenitude, associated equally with the apostles, the sons of Jacob, the tables of the Roman legislator, the labours of Hercules, the hours of the day, the months of the year, or the signs of the Zodiac.

Another attractive alternative, however, is James E. Young’s ‘collected memory’ (1993), employed in his study of memorials in order to theorise these as sites around which diverse memories may accumulate. Rather than directing attention to what is shared by participants in memory practices, a collected memory approach leaves open the question of whether those engaging in a practice necessarily attribute it with the same meanings. ‘Social memory’ and ‘cultural memory’ are sometimes deployed inter­ changeably.

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