Accepted paper:

Transformations of memory and identity in Slovakia


Alexandra Bitusikova (Matej Bel University)

Paper short abstract:

The objective of the paper is to present the relationship between collective urban memories, identities and power struggles in a post-1989 Slovak city on the example of place-renaming (streets and squares) and changes of symbols and ceremonies.

Paper long abstract:

The paper builds upon Maurice Halbwachs´s, Edward Said´s and Pierre Nora´s concepts of memory, which are mainly spatially constituted. It focuses on relationships between collective memory, identity and power in the city of Banská Bystrica in Slovakia in the post-1989 period. Post-socialist transformation brought a large diversification of the society, accompanied by diversification of memories and identities. Ther paper follows two areas related to remembering and forgetting that showed significant changes in the postsocialist period and have an important role in the construction of new collective memories: 1. place-renaming: changes of street and square names as a symbol of ; and 2. changes of urban symbols (destruction of old symbols and erection of new ones) and the introduction of new urban ceremonies. Both areas of memory- and identity-related transformations in the city of Banská Bystrica show power struggles of various groups that want to "privatise" their own history, own memory, identity, places and symbols.

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