Accepted paper:

Coping with the difference: social and cultural practices in the post-Soviet military base in Poland

Authors:

Dagnoslaw Demski (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
Dominika Czarnecka (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Al. Solidarnosci 105, 00-140 Warszawa; NIP 5250008844)

Paper short abstract:

The newly settled inhabitants of the post-soviet military base have to cope with the communist past and difficulties with ‘familiarizing’ the local space. We present ethnography of the practices that enable using the foreign past and material heritage to create a new local identity since the 1990s.

Paper long abstract:

Our general interest relates to the uses of the past in the post-soviet ex-territorial areas in Poland. Among many examples of such places, for the purposes of this presentation we have decided to choose one area. The Soviet Army left the town in the early 1990s and since then it has been settled by the new inhabitants. We focus on the social and cultural practices that enable using the foreign past and material heritage to create a new local identity by Poles. Our aim is to present: - a range of social practices taken up by different social actors (i.e. commemorative intentions, anniversaries - May 3rd Constitution Day, May 8th Victory Day, the local celebrations) in which the references to the Polish, Soviet and German past of the place are present - what kind of references to the foreign past appear in these practices and in what context - how the social practices are used to 'familiarize' the space of the post-soviet military base - how these practices help to create a new local identity. We also try to answer the question what do these social and cultural practices reflect, nostalgia for what has already passed or denial of the "shameful" foreign past. Our analyses are based not only on fieldworks, but also on the research on visual materials available on the internet and created by different local actors and entities, i.e. the Regional Museum, the Association of the Polish-Soviet Army Enthusiasts, the Military History Enthusiasts' Club.

panel SPS003
Remembering and forgetting the communist past in post-communist Europe: politics, social practices and everyday life