Remembering Communism – Making Sense of Post-Communism. An Analysis of Discursive Strategie in Lithuanian Textbooks

Barbara Christophe

In the following paper I will present some preliminary thoughts I have developed during one year of research on post-soviet history teachers and their role as an interface between individual and collective memory of the communist past. I will thereby pursue a four-fold agenda. 

  • In the first step, I would like to explore some of the central challenges facing memory research today, which entails casting a somewhat critical look on the approaches which currently dominate.
  • In the second step, I will try to spell out what that could mean for memory studies on communism pointing mainly to the manifold tensions and contradictions involved in most post-socialist societies’ endeavour to come to terms with that particular kind of past.
  • In the third step, I will introduce history textbooks as a valuable though highly understudied source of memory research. I will do so by elaborating on the hybrid nature of textbooks which are simultaneously two rather contradictory things. On the one hand, they are something like a tool for creating a coherent memory of the past. But on the other hand, they also as a rule reflect social processes of negotiation and contestation over sensitive issues of remembering.
  • In the fourth and final step, I shall illustrate the theoretical and methodological thoughts I have presented so far, with an analysis of a single Lithuanian textbook. To be more precise, I shall look into the discursive strategies which the authors of that specific book applied which integrate the two contradictory strands of remembering communism and of making sense of post-communism into a more or less coherent narrative.

The article is from our cooperation partner edumeres

To the article on the website from edumeres


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