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Memory and Power in Post-War Europe
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Book description

How has memory - collective and individual - influenced European politics after the Second World War and after 1989 in particular? How has the past been used in domestic struggles for power, and how have 'historical lessons' been applied in foreign policy? While there is now a burgeoning field of social and cultural memory studies, mostly focused on commemorations and monuments, this volume is the first to examine the connection between memory and politics directly. It investigates how memory is officially recast, personally reworked and often violently re-instilled after wars, and, above all, the ways memory shapes present power constellations. The chapters combine theoretical innovation in their approach to the study of memory with deeply historical, empirically based case studies of major European countries. The volume concludes with reflections on the ethics of memory, and the politics of truth, justice and forgetting after 1945 and 1989.

Reviews

'What makes the book attractive is breadth and depth of empirical study. Miller's volume is a rich collection of studies in the political uses of the past in postwar Europe.'

Source: International Affairs

‘This is a timely intervention in the burgeoning fields of investigations that engage with the failures and horrors of the past century and the resuscitation of myths and growing important of memories that come along with them in the present … its innovative approach lies in the informed use of theoretical conceptions for the historical and empirical analysis of concrete political phenomena and processes of legitimation in Western, Central and Eastern Europe … the book very carefully avoid the methodological shortcomings and over-psychologising that is prevalent in much of so-called ’memory studies’. It provides a well-researched, empirically rich account of the political importance of memory and its consequences for current policy-making.’

Source: Political Studies Review

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