Introducing Difficult Pasts and Narratives

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Publicerad: 2012-01-17


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The relationship between museums and difficult pasts; between museological discourse and individual or collective sentiment; is of particular relevance to the highly topical issue of the link between history and memory. The panorama of ties between memory and heritage that research in the field has been establishing over the last generation is most revealing. Both terms have benefitted from nearly unprecedented success; echoed by the growing field of study that has consecrated their usage; and which appears in a sense to be taking over the interest that was formerly dedicated to the writing of history. Much like the way in which the ideas of Michel de Certeau had provided essential intellectual anchors in the 1970s; centred on the metaphor of historical practice as a funeral rite; and on the sharp critique of the division of academic work and research strategies; it was the configurations of history through memory and heritage that left the greatest mark on the decades of 1980 to 2000. The first apparent paradox in this new context; is the idea of bringing together notions related to processes of heritage and objects or places linked to memories of suffering and trauma.


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