Institutional Memory Production in East Central Europe

Thursday, 24 May 2012, 2:00pm - 3:30pm, IWM library

Seminar “Faces of Eastern Europe”

In the past few years, long after the fall of state-socialism in East Central Europe, we observe the emergence of certain institutional patterns, generally called Institutes of Memory, that are granted the mandate to investigate, and deal with the memory of the past totalitarian regimes. The main focus of the Institutes of Memory is the state-socialism’s past. The process of dealing with the communist past, due to the emergence of these institutional sites, is of a different type, compared to memory politics that remains confined within ideological, identity-building or political rhetoric on a symbolic level. The startling novelty of the democratic state in East Central Europe resides in the interlocking of institutional continuity with the state socialist regime, residing in the institutional legacy of the Archive of Security Services, and a certain ideological hegemony as a new legitimating ideology of the democratic regime, and a close interlink between civil society and the state long time after regime change in 1989. The project utilizes a historical comparative sociological methodology focusing on the cases of Czech Republic and Romania.

Sokol Lleshi is Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, Central European University, Budapest, and currently Junior Visiting Fellow at IWM.