Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. Advertisement Hide. Front Matter Pages i-xvi. Pages Habit memory is the capacity to undertake acts of performance. The key idea of a wide range of recent studies in memory is that memory can no longer be seen as a reflection, or a cognitive record of the past. Rather it should be seen as performative. Jan Assmann suggests that Judaism — in an age of extreme uncertainty — established memory techniques in the service of bonding memory.
According to Connerton, commemorative ceremonies engage members of the community by enacting cults, encoding gestures, and ritually repeating movements. The aim is to remind the community of its identity. Revolutionary periods leave an extraordinary impact both on the self-definition of the regime and on the social memory of citizens. The emotional intensity of the French Revolution would, as Kant realized at the time, never be forgotten.
The Revolution generated rituals as symbolic representations, which unfolded in opposite directions. The trial and execution of Louis XVI was enshrined in a ritual performance of extraordinary power, which not only killed a king but revoked a ruling principle.
We remember how to ride a bike, mow a lawn, or assemble furniture. The memory of these performative acts is like learning a lesson. Yet unless we encounter a problem and have to consult a manual, we would not necessarily recall when, how, or where we learnt it. The emergence of performative habit memory is often rooted in founding or strategic generations.
Such carriers of memory will - often with a considerable delay in time — produce a variety of testimonies that they will communicate to their kin, the wider public, and even across national boundaries. This habit memory will inscribe and incorporate its experience into national consciousness through literary expression, semantic symbols, and ritual performance. Ritualised habits in West Germany included forgetting values such as glory and patriotism, and learning the internalisation of guilt. In German habit memory, representations of patriotism have become practically impossible.
Their sacrifice for the nation, i. It is even more problematic when the term Opfer is applied to the Jews. There is no doubt that the Jews objectively were a passive victim. They were killed practically without resistance; they were not given any chance to commit acts of self-sacrifice.
However, official commemoration of the Jews as victims in a not insignificant way subscribes to central elements of Nazi ideology. In the social sciences, comparisons usually aim at establishing analogies amongst clearly distinct cases. Is the post-communist condition of contested memory regimes yet another scenario in which Eastern Europe has no choice other than to follow western designs? The temptation is great to see contested memories in Eastern Europe as pathological, a continuing nightmare from which it is difficult to awake. Arguments about the incapacity and immaturity to deal with the past abound.
The question, however, is whether such claims are intellectually sound and historically tenable.
MOC Modern Chess Openings 1939
Only gradually — and not without decisive shifts in the self-imagination and performance of political leaders, artists, intellectuals, and the wider public — could the victim syndrome undergo a transition in the direction of a diversity of memories, an increase of official commemorations, and a more critical understanding of the forms of coming to terms — or failing to come to terms — with the past.
He held visiting fellowships at the International Political Anthropology. Roszkowski, G. Schopflin, T. Valdo Kelam, G. Kristovskis and V. Schmitter and T.
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Keane ed. Apor and J. Weisbrod ed. Wulf and P. Wood, Vectors of Memory. Edmunds and B. This article has been published in the first issue of Remembrance and Solidarity Studies.
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Younger and more conservative journalists located him irretrievably in the communist camp. A more differentiated view conceded that the reformers of were endeavouring to make the system more humane but at the same time they stood accused of illusory, inconsistent and weak policies. The neo-liberal parties emerged as the victors of the political process of differentiation which took place in Czechia after and wanted to make it clear that they had different concepts of democracy and society than those voiced in Failure was successive and the most difficult part was carried out by the reformers themselves.
Their inability not to abandon certain political principles, preferring to relinquish power rather than hoping that their sheer persistence in staying on and occupying certain functions would constitute a lesser evil was not a coincidence. The suppression of the reform-communist experiment led to resignation, cynicism, and emigration. Repression, but also political conformity and self-abnegation, transformed the country into a cultural waste land.
All thoughts of reform were banished from the party until The perception of the Prague Spring took a different course in Slovakia. Both the reform movement of and the consequences of its failure were much slower in Slovakia. Under the communist regime Slovakia experienced the biggest leap in urbanisation and industrialisation in its history.
In Slovakia after there was, in general, a more positive attitude to the legacy of the reforms of Neither reform communism nor Eurocommunism left a theoretical or institutional legacy on which the newly won democracies after could or needed to build. For modernisers and technocrats it was an experiment which might have shown whether a convergence of systems would be possible, whether the expansion of the welfare state in the West could have had a counterpart in a democratisation with a more market-based economy in the East.
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For social-democrats the Prague Spring was an inspiration and opened up a perspective whereby the split of the left into communists and social-democrats could have been overcome. The idea that the totalitarian Soviet communism might be overcome peacefully and without bloodshed electrified even middle-class and conservative politicians such as Margaret Thatcher or George Bush senior. The sheer notion of a non-violent ending of the partition of Europe touched almost everyone, even otherwise apolitical citizens.
Millions of people on their televisions watched the invasion of a small country, which was not threatening anybody but had only set about clearing away its own lies and undemocratic practices. The Prague Spring lastingly changed the view of the nature of Soviet communism. In the former Eastern Bloc the Prague Spring has had a lasting impact, as for a few months the mutability of the dictatorial Soviet-style system became a reality in favour of new freedoms. The protests against the military intervention in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary and the GDR by small and at the time powerless groups of dissidents marked a break in the development of the Eastern bloc.
It was the start of a civil society opposition and the historical end of reform communism. Culturally, the s represented a productive time of new beginnings. The civilisatory backwardness of the East compared to the West was not yet so obvious, and the pre-ecological fetishisation of growth and technology promoted the idea, which many believed in at the time, of a long-term convergence of the systems in East and West.
The astonishing global renaissance of Marxism in the s facilitated communication across borders and political blocks. The reformers trusted in the idea that the new social structures which had been created by nationalisation could no longer be overturned.
Despite the above mentioned programmatic limitations, the social processes of represented a system transformation which could not have been halted without resorting to violence. Jan Pauer PhD - historian, translator and philosopher. Cooperated in realisation of many documentary films, took part in many radio programs and wrote many articles for newspapers on history, culture and politics in Central and Eastern Europe.
This paper presents a number of attitudes of Polish politicians, historians and general public towards the events of the year which in Poland are understood primarily as the Round Table talks, the June parliamentary elections and the formation of the government of Tadeusz Mazowiecki. The article also covers the most important disputes which arose in Poland after , concerning the issue of vetting and decommunization; the shape of the political system; the direction of the transformation of the economic system; and the basic directions of foreign policy.
According to the author, in spite of the fact that the legacy inherited from the era of communist rule is gradually losing its importance, it still has a significant impact on various spheres of public life in contemporary Poland. When communist rule collapsed in , Poland differed from the other Soviet Bloc countries in four major respects. First, agriculture had not been collectivized, which meant that over seventy per cent of arable land was privately owned.
The numerical strength of the democratic opposition made for the third distinction. At the end of the s more than 20, people were actively involved. The fourth difference was the scale of the economic crisis: it was deeper than in the other Soviet Bloc countries and had been deteriorating steadily since the late s.
Considering all these factors, it could have been expected that the system transformation would be different than in other countries where the Autumn of Nations resulted in the fall of communist governments. When we look back at these events twenty-five years later, however, it seems that there were more similarities than discrepancies. The objective of this article is a short analysis of the long-term impact of the events of on the following spheres: 1 the decommunization and lustration proceedings; 2 the shape of the Polish political system; 3 the structure of the Polish economy; 4 the foreign policy of the Third Republic of Poland.
Before discussing these points, let me first outline the public debate on the events of which is still present in the Polish public sphere.
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Obviously, both trends are gradable and vary in many aspects. The common denominator for the affirmative category, however, may be defined as a conviction that the process of democratization, triggered by the Round Table talks, was the optimal solution for a deeply divided society, and, in particular, that it allowed for a bloodless and evolutionary eradication of the dictatorship. The Round Table changed more than our country. It was the turning point in the contemporary history of Europe and the world [ A new line in political thinking was conceived; a wall of mistrust replaced with dialogue and discussion rather than confrontation; those who had, until recently, been enemies, became political partners.
Agreement grew out of the seed of responsibility for Poland. Through this agreement Poland now has every opportunity to develop, to let its citizens enjoy fundamental freedom and better living conditions. One of the elements of the compromise was accepting joint accountability for the controllable development of the situation [ In both these opinions one common element is clearly visible. It could be summarized as the opinion that the communist and the opposition elites, acting out of concern for the future of the nation, reached an agreement that allowed for political and economic evolution.
From this perspective, the most striking outcome of the Round Table talks and the subsequent events was not the page-long written covenant, whose provisions were largely never to be implemented, but the creation of a platform for communication and an atmosphere of mutual trust within groups of people from two separate camps: the government and the opposition.
The critical group is far more internally diversified than the affirmative one. The others perceived them as a fundamental agreement between the two elites; a point of view I reject. There was no such agreement.
This meaning was attributed to the talks post factum. The process of the enfranchisement of the nomenklatura should have been stopped at once, and the work of restoring seized property should have been begun.