The post-memory and post-migrant society: quest for identity of Warmia-Masuria
Michal Maleszka (Jagiellonian University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper focuses on the role of post-memory in creating historical narratives and individual sense of belonging in the post-migrant society of Warmia-Masuria.
Paper long abstract:
Warmia-Masuria is a Polish region that once was a southern part of the former German province of East Prussia. Contemporary social and cultural identity of the region was defined by massive forced migration after the second world war. Post 1945 history of the region was dominated by the new ideology in which the "historical justice" and national rebirth was tightly connected to establishement of the rule of communist party. Period after 1989 resulted with proliferation of narrations on regional far and recent history. Despite that the idea of "local identity" still seems far from being certain and appointed. Looking at the promo material on the region one can easily found recurring sentence that "region is still looking for its identity". The sociologigal concept of "third generation" (counting from the first generation of newcomers since 1945) found its way to the non-academical discussions in the local media. In my paper I would like to present contemporary strategies of "looking for the region's identity". The empirical foundation of my paper are biographical accounts of members of the "third generation". I want to focus my presentation on the role of post-memory in the process of forming the individual sense of belonging. In the local context post-memory at the same time concerns with the history of "our own" country and people as well as history and land of the group that could be treated as alien or even hostile. I want to depict how this shadows affect present inhabitants of the region.
Intimacy of social memory and the construction of self-identity linked to the Holocaust and forced migrations in the current interconnected world