What is a ‘revolution’?: National commemoration, collective memory and managing authenticity in the representation of a political event

2009-10-28T14:21:59Z (GMT) by Cristian Tileaga
This article examines the production and management of an ideological representation of a specific political `event': the Romanian `revolution' of 1989. A critical discursive psychological approach to analyzing political discourse is used to examine commemorative addresses in the Romanian parliament. The analysis explores: (a) issues of agency, entitlement and working with regard to actual or possible alternatives; (b) a pattern of recurring categorical incumbency shifts; (c) managing the authenticity and the true nature of the `event' through invoking category-bound knowledge and predicates commonsensically attachable to the notion of `revolution'; and (d) formulating and orienting to the `events of 1989' as `revolution' and `foundational' moment in national history. It is argued that the main ideological function of drawing on such resources is that of framing/ reframing, controlling the various interpretations, public (re)formulations of the Romanian `revolution', disconnecting it from its controversial particulars and delegitimizing criticism. For a political `event' to acquire an `identity', it needs to be cast into a category with associated characteristics or features. The occasioned ideological and political significance of a political `event' lies also in its consequentiality in and for the social and ideological context in which it is invoked.