EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(W008)

Recasting pasts and futures: imagination and belonging across generations in Europe

Location JHT4
Date and Start Time 26 Aug, 2010 at 11:30

Convenors

Susanna Trnka (University of Auckland) email
Haldis Haukanes (University of Bergen) email
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Long Abstract

This panel aims to explore the intersections between lived histories and imagined futures across different generations in Europe. Probing how the past is actively re-conceptualized and utilized in imaginative constructions of the future - and vice versa - our aim is to situate narratives of 'belonging' - personal, familial, gendered, ethnic and/or national - within imagined and embodied representations of the past, present and future. We further aim to explore the importance of personal and collective historical "turning points" in the formation of intra-and inter-generational discourses on loss and dislocation on the one hand, and hopes and wishes for the future on the other, taking into account the fact that the moments of rupture written into official histories do not always form the basis for either personal or other kinds of collective narratives of the past.

Discussant: Frances Pine

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Imagining Bosnia between past and future: memories, home and belonging in a post-conflict society

Author: Sanda Üllen (University of Vienna)  email
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Long Abstract

More than a decade after the end of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina, memories of the atrocities committed between 1992-1995 continue to occupy public and private arenas among Bosnians both in their homeland as well as in the diaspora. The aim of this paper is to discuss how belonging, identity and notions of home are influenced and constructed by the memories and the narratives of the war and war-related issues in local and transnational context (Bosnia-Hercegovina and Denmark). Special attention should be paid on different strategies of dealing with the past and consequences on the future between the generations. These strategies include questions on the role of memories (Do memories provide the people with a sense of belonging or are they rather a tool for mobilizing group identity in order to create or increase group boundaries?) and the meaning of belonging, notions of home and place for persons who have violently been driven out of their country.

Remembering and forgetting the past: memory transmission in Greece

Author: Maria Couroucli (CNRS/EHESS)  email
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Long Abstract

The memory of the civil war in Greece, sixty years after it ended, is a hot question of debate among historians, politicians and the general public. While the ancient past continues to be the key reference to national identity (Cf. Herzfeld 1987, 1997, among many others), the ambiguity of social memory about the recent past has been less explored and discussed. Focusing on a specific event, the burning of the security police files by the authorities themselves in Athens in August 1989, this paper proposes to examine the difficulties of inter-generational transmission of collective memory in both the private and the public spheres. This implies an investigation of the notion of oblivion in relation to (past) civil violence with specific reference to Loraux's analysis on lethe (oblivion), an opposite of a-letheia (truth).

Remembering Pirelli-Bicocca: memories and dreams of the 'Autunno Caldo'

Author: Luca Rimoldi (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca. Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale)  email
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Long Abstract

Until the 1980s, the Bicocca area in Milan (Italy) has been a crucial site for industrial production. The large Pirelli plant occupied the entire area of this northern suburb employing around 12,000 people at its peak. It is right here, on the pavements of Viale Sarca – the main avenue of this neighbourhood – that the demonstrations and strikes of the so-called Autunno Caldo set out.

Coordinated by the three major Italian trade unions Cisl (Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori), Uil (Unione Italiana del Lavoro), and Cgil (Confederazione Italiana Generale del Lavoro) Pirelli workers and employees struck and demonstrated demanding better pay and shorter working hours.

Today Bicocca has become a 'technological integrated pole'. In place of the old Pirelli assembly plant, now stand the University of Milano Bicocca, the Theatre Arcimboldi, CNR, and Siemens Italia, among others.

In this paper I present fragments of life histories of few trade union leaders and activists who worked at Pirelli between 1968 and 1969. These personal histories demonstrate that 'narrated time' gives meaning to a series of places that are radically different today.

I will show that the 'future imagined' during the Autunno Caldo of labour unrest continues to have implications in the daily lives of those who took part in it. Thus the ongoing re-conceptualisation of the past and the future imagined in the past show the conflictual relationship between the imagination of these trade-unionists and their daily practices.

Memories and generation in 'model socialist town'

Author: Kinga Pozniak (University of Western Ontario)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper explores how memories of socialism are re-worked and negotiated by different generations in Nowa Huta, Poland. Initially built as an industrial, "model socialist town", since 1989 Nowa Huta has experienced de-industrialization and marginalization. At present, its socialist past is being re-interpreted by different actors to serve different (and sometimes contradictory) goals. This paper addresses some of these memory-making projects, noting the key events in the town's and nation's history around which these memories are constructed. It examines how different generations remember/perceive the socialist period, and particularly how the socialist past is treated by young people who have no firsthand memories of it. Memories of socialism in Nowa Huta are revealed to be varying, multi-faceted and dispersed. The paper then considers what this case can tell us about the use of the past to serve a particular vision of present and future in Poland.

Differences in temporal reasoning: the future of the past, moral education and generational clashes in an East German town

Author: Felix Ringel (Durham University)  email
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Long Abstract

The problems Hoyerwerda, the GDR's 2nd Socialist Model City and Germany's fastest shrinking town, faces seem at first unrelated to concerns with the past since they dominantly relate to the future. Surprisingly, contemporary future concerns excite many conflicting accounts of very different pasts. I try to indicate the multiplicity and simultaneity of local temporal concerns and their respective practices by focusing on two aspects: The internal politisation of the local youth and the conflicts that emerged in particular school projects aiming at their moral education. Both sets of material exhibit contradictory forms of temporal reasoning. Outcomes of the institutionalized attempts of the so-called "Demokratieerziehung" (democracy-education), such as the competitive GDR-commemoration project "To Future Belongs Commemoration", remain, however, indeterminate. Clashes between the project-organizers and participants illustrate in how far very different, unexpected temporal aspects predominantly structure social relations amongst and between different generations.

Europe, the world and the Czechs: place, time and belonging in contemporary accounts of the Velvet Revolution

Author: Susanna Trnka (University of Auckland)  email
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Long Abstract

How is a political revolution remembered - or not - nearly two decades later? Based on interviews and participant observation undertaken 17 years after the Velvet Revolution, this paper focuses on how Czechs retrospectively portray the political events of 1989, with particular attention paid to the construction of time and the narrative emplacement of the events of 1989 on local, national, European, and world "stages." Specific issues addressed include the significance ascribed in oral accounts to radically transformed experiences of both transnational and local spaces (including the spaces of the body and of domestic and public realms); what these accounts reveal about Czechs' perspectives on individual and national pasts and futures; and how such views might be differently held across generational groups.

Precarious lives: narratives of hope and loss among different generations of Czechs

Author: Haldis Haukanes (University of Bergen)  email
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Long Abstract

On the backdrop of the last decades' "Grand political dramas", this paper examines self-reflections of different generations of Czechs, with particular focus on the relation between professional identity and family relations. Comparing narratives of young Czechs born after 1989 with life histories collected among grown-ups during the 1990's, shifts in what stands out as precarious identity-wise and existentially are pointed out. A significant finding is that members of the youngest generation seem quite confident and optimistic about their future working life. Their main concerns and anxieties are related to disruption of family by divorce, narrated both as experienced pasts and possible futures. In the narratives of the older generations, the nuclear family mainly stands out as a stable and uncomplicated factor in life, while work identities for various reasons appear as ambivalent or - for some of those belonging to the pre-war generation - as fraught with loss and pain.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.