Ur det förflutnas skuggor - historiediskurs och nationalism i Tyskland 1990-2000

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The subject of this study is the re-construction of German national identity and nationalist thinking within the framework of the 1990s’ history discourse in relation to the Nazi past and the Holocaust. The empirical focus is on national politics and the press. Maurice Halbwachs’ social constructionist theory on collective memory and Jan Assmann’s thesis on the defining power of elites in the cultural memory are combined with a hegemony perspective and the tools of discourse analysis. The notion normalization is identified as the hub in a hegemonical intervention starting in the 1980s: a set of different texts, articulations and acts, referring to the Nazi past, regarding German nation-statehood as natural and promoting positive connotations about the German nation, through relativization or a diminishing of Nazi crimes in the collective memory. I argue that, due to the decline of self-experienced, communicative memory and the GDR collapse, a new societal consent was possible; one that now integrates Holocaust memory and German identity. However, the nationalist instrumentalization of this new framework has weakened the barriers against xenophobia and antisemitism. The intense history discourse of the 1990s is expressive of the transition conflict about the selection and rearrangement of public recollections needed for a new equilibrium in German society. Case studies: Buchenwald, Neue Wache Berlin, Holocaust Memorial Berlin.


  • Jan Selling
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • antitotalitarian consent, antisemitism, nationalism, German reunification, normalization, discourse analysis, collective memory, hegemony, antifascism, Contemporary history (since 1914), Nutidshistoria (från 1914)
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2004 Sep 24
  • Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion
Print ISBNs91-7139-671-3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2004-09-24 Time: 10:15 Place: Department of History Lund, room 3 External reviewer(s) Name: Trenter, Cecilia Title: FD Affiliation: [unknown] ---