Memory, Activism and Social Justice USB 2.022
Jul 04, 2023 11:30 - 13:00(Europe/London)
20230704T1130 20230704T1300 Europe/London 1.14. Memory of activism and memory in activism USB 2.022 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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For Your Sake We Continue: Memory and Mobilization in the Aftermath of the 2019 Lebanese Uprising
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 22:00:00 UTC
In the fall of 2019, hundreds of thousands of people across Lebanon and in the Lebanese diaspora took to the streets demanding the downfall of the sectarian regime that has been in power since the end of the Civil War in 1990. The uprising sent shockwaves through society, however it has yet to effect fundamental political change. This has left protesters and academics alike to question how it should be interpreted: as a revolutionary moment, or as part of a long-term process of change. This paper aims to bring these two positions together, by adopting a memory studies perspective. It examines how the October 17-movement, the social and political movement that emerged from the protests, uses memories of the uprising to mobilize for action in the present. The paper focuses on the memorialization of violent deaths, demonstrating how their particular mobilizing potential has been invoked by activists after the uprising. Linking in with Ann Rigney's (2020) discussion of 'civic martyrdom', it raises critical questions about why the images of certain victims become effective vehicles for mobilizing people. This is empirically explored by discussing the case of Alexandra Najjar, one of the youngest victims of the devastating explosion which destroyed parts of Lebanon's capital city Beirut in the summer of 2020. Alexandra's image became emblematic not only within the call for the victims of the blast, but also became widely circulated within the October 17-movement. Her memory has since been invoked to voice a range of political, social and economic grievances. Situating this within the context of a violently divided society and memory culture in Lebanon, I also demonstrate that the ways activists invoke memory of the dead at times reproduces and at other times challenges the sectarian order the Lebanese October 17-movement challenges.
Esther Schoorel
PhD Candidate, University Of Amsterdam
Using historical memory in contemporary activism: Brexit and European collective memory
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 22:00:00 UTC
Brexit has caused huge changes in Britain, the EU, and in relations between them. In the field of memory studies, Brexit and the narratives used to justify it have thus far largely been studied through the lens of imperial nostalgia. This overlooks the role that collective memory of Europe, and not only of Britain as a past imperial power, is likely to have played – something that is crucial to understand to grasp European (dis)integration as a bidirectional process. Brexit itself is premised on Europe, but thus far little exploration has been conducted into what 'European' narratives of collective memory.
This focus on the image and narratives surrounding 'Europe' as a partner is particularly interesting given that the British citizens have had two moments of deliberation with regard to their relationship with the European Community. The first one, in the 1975 referendum just after accession to the European Community, saw considerably higher support for European partnership. What changed in the intervening four decades? 
Focusing on collective memory narratives utilised by the key pro-EU campaign organisations Britain in Europe (1975) and Britain Stronger in Europe (2016), my PhD utilises newspaper articles, political pamphlets, radio and TV programming, speeches, and key informant interviews to study narratives of European memory. Where and what are the collective memories of Europe during existential moments of change for the integration project such as the 1975 and 2016 UK referendums on continued European membership? And how did the narrative frames change between 1975 and 2016? My presentation will address the state of the art, and present a preliminary advance of the analytical results.
Angus Foster
PhD Researcher, Maastricht University
How Is Anti-austerity Remembered? Memory Activism Through Greek And Spanish Slogans
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/03 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/04 22:00:00 UTC
The anti-austerity protests refer to a protest wave that took place in 2011 in different places worldwide. The wave started at the beginning of the year with the Arab Spring in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Bahrain. During spring and summer, protests started to appear in Southern Europe with the Indignados movement in Spain and the Syntagma Square movement in Greece. These countries were plunged into an economic and political crisis and were deeply affected by the austerity measures imposed by the European Union. Following the example and the mode of protests of the Arab Spring, different citizen platforms called for mobilizations, which resulted in the occupation of the main squares in the countries. These protests left a great imprint on the scene of social struggles.
"How are anti-austerity protests being remembered?" is the main question that has guided our research. This question responds to the "memory-activism" nexus (Rigney 372), and more specifically, to the link "memory of activism", defined as the way earlier struggles are culturally recollected (372). But to answer this question it is also necessary to pay attention to the link of "memory activism", that is the way actors strive to produce cultural memory for future remembrance (372).
The anti-austerity struggles in Spain and Greece share common content of the protest and protest repertoire (Gerbaudo 90), as we'll aim to show through the different slogans. However, the memory work done by the protesters with these slogans differs greatly from each other. Different efforts for "memory activism" have led to different remembrance and mnemonic cultural practices in these contexts. In this paper, we'll aim to showcase the different memory concerns of the anti-austerity movements by looking at two cultural practices: the graffiti and the archive. Both practices were very distinctive in the Greek and Spanish cases, respectively. In the Greek case, anti-austerity slogans have mainly been circulated in the form of graffiti. In the Spanish case, the banners with the slogans were saved and gathered in an archive. How do these different cultural practices reflect the mnemonic tendencies of each case? What kind of memory work does each cultural practice reveal? How does the re-mediation of slogans preserve the memory of anti-austerity?
This research is developed in the framework of the ReAct project at Utrech University.
Gerbaudo, Paolo. "Protest Diffusion and Cultural Resonance in the 2011 Protest Wave". The International Spectator, vol. 48, no. 4, 2013, pp. 86-101.
Rigney, Ann. "Remembering Hope: Transnational activism beyond the traumatic". Memory Studies, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 368-380. ]

África López Zabalegui
Utrecht University
Stella Koudouma
RMA Student , Utrecht University
PhD candidate
University of Amsterdam
PhD Researcher
Maastricht University
RMA Student
Utrecht University
Utrecht University
 Andrea Apollonio
PhD candidate
Università di Torino
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