The Creation of Transnational Memory Spaces: Professionalization and Commercialization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the age of globalization, local memories of past violence are often dislocated from their material places as remembrance is transpiring in transnational memory spaces. Historical events and commemorative memory practices increasingly transcend national boundaries and change the way memories of historical violence, atrocity, and genocide are represented in the transnational memoryscape. This article explores how the professionalization and commercialization of museums and memorials of genocide and crimes against humanity are modes of “making the past present” and “the local global”. Furthermore, professionalization and commercialization are processes through which local memories are translated into global discourses that are comprehensible to and recognizable by a global audience. In this article, we disentangle local memory places (understood as material, physical sites) from transnational memory spaces (understood as immaterial, ideational spaces) in order to investigate the transformation of local places of memory into transnational spaces of memory. At the same time, we show that, while these processes are often understood interchangeably, professionalization and commercialization are separate mechanisms and tend to be used strategically to translate memory discourses to specific audiences. These two processes can be seen as producing a standardized memorial site and a homogenization of memory in the transnational memory space. The article illustrates this theoretical reasoning with empirical findings from fieldwork in South Africa, where we zoom in on Robben Island outside Cape Town, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where we focus on the Galerija 11/07/95 in Sarajevo, which commemorates the atrocities committed in Srebrenica in 1995.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Durham University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cultural Studies

Keywords

  • Legacy of conflict, Memory spaces, Robben Island, Srebrenica, Transformation of local places into global spaces
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383–401
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Volume32
Issue number4
Early online date2019 Jul 9
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes