Christian Karner and Bram Mertens: The Use and Abuse of Memory

Network member Christian Karner’s co-edited volume on ‘The Use and Abuse of Memory’ is likely to be of particular interest in our preparations for Workshop 3 on the ‘Politics of Culture as Testimony’ (22 May 2017, University of Nottingham)

Edited by Christian Karner and Bram Mertens, The Use and Abuse of Memory: Interpreting World War II in Contemporary European Politics brings together a group of leading international memory scholars in an inter-disciplinary endeavor. Embracing a diversity of methodological approaches that are applied to a broad range of social, political and cultural domains, the contributors trace and analyze the prominence, use and effects of both cultural memories and discursive invocations of World War II and the Holocaust across Europe in recent years. Whilst individual chapters are focused on particular national contexts, the editors’ introduction and epilogue provide a conceptual framing grounded in the wider literature on memory studies and the Holocaust, on the much-debated question as to the limitations and problems of thinking in historical analogies, and on D. Bell’s concept of the national “mythscape”. Each of the chapters provides an overview of the respective national memory politics since 1945; nonetheless, the consistent and characteristic focus here lies on examining how and why World War II has acquired ever greater prominence – as an interpretive lens – in the context of recent and current crises.

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