By Siobhan Kattago
Ambiguous reminiscence examines the position of reminiscence within the development of a brand new nationwide id in reunified Germany. the writer continues that the contentious debates surrounding modern monumnets to the Nazi prior testify to the anomaly of German reminiscence and the continuing hyperlink of Nazism with modern German nationwide identification. The ebook discusses how definite monuments, and the methods Germans have seen them, give a contribution to different methods Germans have handled the prior, and the way they proceed to house it as one kingdom. Kattago concludes that West Germans have internalized their Nazi earlier as a normative orientation for the democratic tradition of West Germany, whereas East Germans have universalized Nazism and the Holocaust, reworking it into an abstraction during which the Jewish query is down performed. which will shape a brand new collective reminiscence, the writer argues that unified Germany needs to take care of those conflicting perspectives of the previous, incorporating definite features of either perspectives. supplying a topography of East, West, and unified German reminiscence through the Nineteen Eighties and the Nineteen Nineties, this paintings contributes to a greater figuring out of up to date nationwide identification and society. the writer exhibits how public debate over such concerns at Ronald Reagan's stopover at to Bitburg, the renarration of Buchenwald as Nazi and Soviet internment camp, the Goldhagen controversy, and the Holocaust Memorial debate in Berlin give a contribution to the complexities surrounding the best way Germans see themselves, their courting to the previous, and their destiny identification as a kingdom. In a cautious research, the writer indicates how the previous used to be used and abused through either the East and the West within the Nineteen Eighties, and the way those techniques merged within the Nineties. This fascinating new paintings takes a sociological method of the position of reminiscence in forging a brand new, integrative nationwide identification.
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Extra resources for Ambiguous Memory: The Nazi Past and German National Identity
Questions of national identity are linked to questions of how one represents the past through monuments and museums. The modern democratization of memory entails contestation and debate about whose memory is being represented in the identity of a collective group. With the democratization of memory, memories long repressed or excluded from public debate are posed as countermemories to the dominant, accepted memory. Yet, as others (among them Adorno, Nora, and Huyssen) have noted, the democratization of memory also fosters the spectaclization or ossification of the past, which reduces reflection to stereotypical cliches.
In an attempt to avoid the notion of a single hegemonic memory, James Young argues for collected aggregates of memory or "collected memory"—however, Young and other theorists, such John Gillis and Andreas Huyssen, simply use the term "memory," which emphasizes the multiplicity rather than the singularity of memory. For Henri Rousso, official memory is comprised of commemorations, government speeches, and official history. Vectors of memory incorporate various The Ambiguity of Memory and Identity 31 cultural products, such as film, novels, and artwork, whereas diffuse memory entails the reception of memory through surveys and opinion polls.
For further discussions of generational memory, see Howard Schumann and Jacqueline Scott, "Generations and Collective Memories," American Sociological Review 54 (1989): 359-381. 19. Halbwachs, The Collective Memory, 78. 20. Jan Assman, "Collective Memory and Cultural Identity," trans. John Czaplicka, New German Critique 65 (Spring/Summer 1995): 125-133. Originally published as "Kollektives Gedachtnis und kulturelle Identitat" in his Kultur und Gedachtnis (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1988). For Halbwachs's work on the Holy Land, see the translated conclusion, "The Legendary Topography of the Gospels in the Holy Land," in his On Collective Memory, 193-235.