Ethnography of postsocialist rural change: social memory, modernity, local empowerment and internal displacement
Hana Horakova (Metropolitan University Prague)
Paper short abstract:
The paper will look at the ways social memory derived from the “socialist past” affects ongoing processes and practices of local empowerment and exclusion/displacement in Czech rural areas.
Paper long abstract:
Rural change in postsocialist societies, accompanied by feelings of insecurity about the emerging new social order caused a breakdown in the most communities. Many local structures have changed dramatically; social networks have become fractured, while new structures of inequality and disadvantage have emerged. To understand the dynamics and complexity of the change, an ethnographic insight into the concept of social memory as a process in which issues of power, stratification, contestation are central is helpful, as well as the link between memory and identity, in order to trace the roots of social conflict. The aim of the paper is to examine how social memory affects social interaction in the public space intersected by the ongoing processes of transnational mobility. The study uses multi-sited research strategy focusing on four rural areas in Czechia that have recently embarked upon international tourism. Social memory is approached as an instigator of multiple practices and strategies that can lead both to local empowerment practices (denying the past), and to the internal displacement (symbolic and physical, within the newly produced social space in the logic of postsocialist modern rurality). The paper will look at the ways social memory derived from the "socialist past" affects ongoing processes, practices and relationships of empowerment on the one hand, and the fate of exclusion/displacement, on the other. The study on social memory will not only cast light on the complexity of the (re)production of rural space but it will also help account the conflicts between diverse social groups.
Intimacy of social memory and the construction of self-identity linked to the Holocaust and forced migrations in the current interconnected world