The Politics of Memory in Post-Authoritarian Transitions, Volume Two: Comparative Analysis
History is a powerful tool in the hands of politicians, and can be a destructive weapon, as power over the past is the power to decide who is a hero and who is a traitor. Tradition, the remembrance of ancestors, experiences of previous generations are keys that unlock the doors to citizens’ minds, and allow certain ideas, visions and political programs to flourish. However, can history be a proper political weapon during democratization processes when the past is decisively divided from the present? Are the new order and society founded on the basis of some interpretation of the past, or, rather, are they founded only with reference to the imagined future of the nation?
This book explores such questions through a detailed description of the use of remembrance policies during political transformations. It discusses how interpretations of the past served the realization of transitional objectives in countries as varied as Chile, Estonia, Georgia, Poland, South Africa and Spain. The book is a unique journey through different parts of the world, different cultures and different political systems, investigating how history was remembered and forgotten by certain democratic leaders. Individual chapters discuss how governments’ remembrance policies were used to create a new citizen, to change a political culture, and to justify a vision of society promoted by new elites. They explain why some sore topics were avoided by politicians, and why sometimes there was no transitional justice or punishment of leaders of the authoritarian state. The book will be of interest to anyone wishing to explore policies of remembrance, democratization, and the role of memory in contemporary societies.
Joanna Marszałek-Kawa is Professor and Head of the Department of the Political System of Poland at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland, and the Director of the Centre of Eastern Studies and the Vice-President of the Torun branch of the Polish Association of Political Science. Her main interests include European parliamentarism, Asian studies, and the political system of Poland and comparative constitutional systems. She is also Leading investigator of the research project “Politics of Memory as the Constitutional Factor of New Identity during the Transition from Authoritarian Regimes”.
Patryk Wawrzyński is a Doctor of Political Science and a Researcher at the Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland. He is a Scholar of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Mecklemburg-Vorpommern Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Copernicus Graduate School and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. He has authored a number of papers on political mythologies, political culture, the government’s remembrance policy, and comparative transitional politics.
Anna Ratke-Majewska is a Doctor of Social Sciences in Political Studies, and graduated from the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies at the Nicolaus Copernicus University Poland. She is Co-Investigator of the research project “Politics of Memory as the Constitutional Factor of New Identity during the Transition from Authoritarian Regimes”. Her scientific interests focus on the politics of memory and transitional justice, the theory of political identity, and the theory and practice of foreign policy, including relations between Poland and Latin American states.
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