Making Individual Memory Visible in the Public Space

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Seminarraum Geschichte 1 (Main Building)
RC38 Biography and Society (host committee)

Language: English

Both traditional historical and classical memory narratives were greatly determined by the recollection of the figure of the hero. National identities were built around the heroic deeds of the great man who then served as historical, social and cultural models for a particular society. Within this process of inscribing the exemplarity of heroes into collective memory the public space (through its statues, street names, memorial plaques and other memorial signs) typically played an essential role. What happens, however, when the everyday man takes over the urban space? 
Both social history and qualitative sociology (especially biographical research) “discovered” the everyday men behind macro historical events: these trends cannot imagine the understanding of society without the understanding of the experiences of the individual.  
The proposed session intends to elaborate the relationship of individual memories and the urban space, focusing on the following questions: 

  • How does the biography of the everyday man become articulated in the urban space and how does others’ biographical presentation affect his own?
  • How do urban experiences and public representations become part of the narration of the individual’s life story?
  • How do memories of the everyday man increasingly flood the public space (see examples commemorating the everyday man such as the Stolpersteine project) and how does the individual challenge particular memorials (eg. the vandalization of statues)?
  • How do collective and individual processes of remembering mutually shape each other in and through the urban space?
Session Organizers:
Julia VAJDA, ELTE University Budapest, Hungary and Julia SZEKELY, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary
Julia VAJDA, ELTE University Budapest, Hungary
Julia SZEKELY, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary
Shaping Perceptions, Meaning and Use of Holocaust Memorial Spaces: Two Case Studies from Vienna
Monika PALMBERGER, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna, Austria; Eva SCHWAB, Department of Landscape, Spatial and Infrastructure Sciences, Institute of Landscape Architecture, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Outsiders' Silence about Their Past in the City
Johannes BECKER, University of Göttingen, Germany
Remembrance on the Doorsteps of the Appropriated Armenian Property in Van
Eren YETKIN, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Silencing of Memories – Interactions Between Memory, Discourse and Social Changes
Katinka MEYER, Center of Methods in Social Sciences University of Göttingen, Germany