Communism and the meaning of social memory: towards a critical-interpretive approach

2013-01-31T12:24:45Z (GMT) by Cristian Tileaga
Using a case study of representations of communism in Romania, the paper offers a sketch of a critical-interpretive approach for exploring and engaging with the social memory of communism. When one considers the various contemporary appraisals, responses to and positions towards the communist period one identifies and one is obliged to deal with a series of personal and collective moral/political quandaries. In their attempt to bring about historical justice, political elites create a world that conforms more to their needs and desires than to the diversity of meanings of communism, experiences and dilemmas of lay people. This paper argues that one needs to study formal aspects of social memory as well as "lived", often conflicting, attitudinal and mnemonic stances and interpretive frameworks. One needs to strive to find the meaning of the social memory of communism in the sometimes contradictory, paradoxical attitudes and meanings that members of society communicate, endorse and debate. Many of the ethical quandaries and dilemmas of collective memory and recent history can be better understood by describing the discursive and sociocultural processes of meaning-making and meaning-interpretation carried out by members of a polity.