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Collective memory of economic crises and transformations

ceu campus
Thursday, October 6, 2022, 2:00 pm – Friday, October 7, 2022, 2:00 pm

                                       The Department of International Relations invites you to a workshop

                                                 “Collective memory of economic crises and transformations”… 

Meeting ID: 937 9684 9662
Passcode: 196738

In the thriving discipline of memory studies rather little attention has so far been paid to the economy – witness, for example, the marginal consideration given to economic themes in the numerous ‘realms of memory’ volumes. In political economy scholarship, conversely, memory narratives have occasionally been mentioned as a specific layer of economic policy discourses, but have hardly been systematically explored.

At the same time, a range of so far rather isolated works from different disciplines clearly points to the importance of economic events and processes for the construction of collective memory narratives. Reminiscent of Renan’s classic emphasis on past ‘common glories’ and ‘great deeds’ of a nation, the significance of past economic achievement for national identity narratives has been highlighted for cases such as post-1945 Germany and Japan. Conversely, economic crises or catastrophes also leave their traces – witness the prominence of the Great Famine for Irish collective memory or the important role of nineteenth century imperialist exploitation for memory narratives in China and India. From a very different perspective, distinct regional industrial structures have also been demonstrated to be important vectors of collective memory construction. Yet other research has pointed to the ways in which specific firms and products can acquire symbolic meaning for broader narratives about the past. More generally, it may be said that economic processes play an increasingly crucial role in the contemporary reproduction of various kinds of memory narratives, reflected, for example, in the pervasiveness of heritage tourism and practices of ‘place branding’.

Our project seeks to bring these diverse perspectives together and, going further, to advance a more systematic analysis of the relationship between collective memory narratives and the economy. To this end, our workshop focuses on the theme of memory narratives and economic crises and transformations.

Our analyses will be guided by a twofold question. On the one hand, we explore the genesis of economy-focused memory narratives: How, and under what conditions do economic crises and transformations shape the construction of such narratives? Who are the key actors and institutions in such processes, which power relations underpin them? How are economy-focused narratives reflected at different levels of memory narratives (‘political’ vs. ‘cultural’ vs. ‘social’ (A. Assmann)? On the other hand, we also investigate how such memory narratives acquire political salience in subsequent periods of time. To what extent and how are narratives about earlier economic crises and transformations later invoked as ‘lessons’ to be drawn/learnt from the past? How does the impact of memory narratives change over time? How, and why, does this impact vary across countries?



Thursday, 6 October 2022 / Location: QS C 419

14.00 Introduction

14.30-16.00 Collective memory and economic crises and catastrophes

14.30 Youssef Cassis/Giuseppe Telesca, European University Institute

15.15 Marguerite Corporaal, University of Nijmegen


16.30-18.00 Collective memory and systemic economic and political transformation

16.30 Tetiana Vodotyka, Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyev

17.15 Joanna Wawrzyniak, University of Warsaw


Friday 7 October 2022 / Location: QS C 419

9.00-10.30 Collective memory and economic globalization

9.00 Naoki Odanaka, University of Tohoku

9.45 Thomas Fetzer, Central European University


11.00-12.30 Collective memory and structural transformations of industrial societies

11.00 Stefan Berger, Ruhr University Bochum

11.45 Short presentations 

12.30 Conclusions…

Meeting ID: 937 9684 9662
Passcode: 196738