Conflict, Violence and Memory TFDC 1.16
Jul 04, 2023 11:30 - 13:00(Europe/London)
20230704T1130 20230704T1300 Europe/London 1.6. Memory before Violence

Memory before ViolencePanel organized by the research centre "Transformations of Political Violence" (TraCe, https://www.trace-center.de/en/ )Chairs: Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Center for Conflict Studies, Philipps University Marburg, Germany) & Astrid Erll (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)The paradigm of memory studies approaches to violence is to study what happens after the fact: 'truth', 'reconciliation', 'justice' and 'commemorative culture' have proven fruitful concepts when addressing the nexus between violence and memory.Our panel suggests to turn around the temporal perspective and asks how collective memory unfolds its agency not AFTER, but BEFORE acts of political violence. What national narratives, repeated news framings, colonial myths, transgenerational stories, school curricula and textbooks, archives and repertoires of violent action, inherited emotional regimes etc. are at play when it comes to producing violence in the future – or to make future violence more likely to occur?

Prof. Dr. Nicolai Hannig (Technical University Darmstadt)Memory before RiotsThis paper argues that the manner in which past riots are remembered has a crucial effect on how future riots are carried out. Protest movements are an expression of perceived social grievances and at the same time events that create community and meaning. As such, they are also remembered. They take place in a public space that is occupied by communities as actors of protest.Above all, violent resistance shapes the perception of protesters and observers. It determines media coverage and shapes collective protest memory. Not only are protest goals and successes remembered, but also the particular forms of protests and violence. These memories of past riots, in turn, shape the evaluation an ...

TFDC 1.16 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Memory before Violence

Panel organized by the research centre "Transformations of Political Violence" (TraCe, https://www.trace-center.de/en/ )

Chairs: Susanne Buckley-Zistel (Center for Conflict Studies, Philipps University Marburg, Germany) & Astrid Erll (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)

The paradigm of memory studies approaches to violence is to study what happens after the fact: 'truth', 'reconciliation', 'justice' and 'commemorative culture' have proven fruitful concepts when addressing the nexus between violence and memory.
Our panel suggests to turn around the temporal perspective and asks how collective memory unfolds its agency not AFTER, but BEFORE acts of political violence. What national narratives, repeated news framings, colonial myths, transgenerational stories, school curricula and textbooks, archives and repertoires of violent action, inherited emotional regimes etc. are at play when it comes to producing violence in the future – or to make future violence more likely to occur?



Prof. Dr. Nicolai Hannig (Technical University Darmstadt)

Memory before Riots

This paper argues that the manner in which past riots are remembered has a crucial effect on how future riots are carried out. Protest movements are an expression of perceived social grievances and at the same time events that create community and meaning. As such, they are also remembered. They take place in a public space that is occupied by communities as actors of protest.
Above all, violent resistance shapes the perception of protesters and observers. It determines media coverage and shapes collective protest memory. Not only are protest goals and successes remembered, but also the particular forms of protests and violence. These memories of past riots, in turn, shape the evaluation and interpretation of the present. Memories of past violent protests fuel expectations of a resurgence of violence and can thereby lower the inhibition threshold for violence, not least under the assumption of having to provide self-protection, which legitimizes supposed counter-violence. For security forces, protest memories are also an important factor that motivates new deployment strategies and can shape behavior in violent situations.
Memories of past protest events are not only stored cognitively, but have a multifaceted materiality (written material, photographs, architecture in cities). Furthermore, it must be examined to what extent bodies can also remember violence and, as a carrier medium of past violence, may determine the exercise of new violence. Against this background, the paper illuminates how violent practices have been handed down both to remember and preform protest events since the 18th century. The focus is on media reports, songs, grey literature, photography, and changing group affiliations.


Sabine Mannitz

Canadian settler storytelling: Memories of peril before violence against Indigenous people

Canada was founded on a specific form of colonialism, i.e. settler colonialism, which established profound structures and institutions that still shape the reality and societal relations of Indigenous and non Indigenous people. Settler colonialism creates an all encompassing system with long term effects on the social structure, economy, culture, politics, education, historiography, and collective self imagination. The colonization process was accompanied by direct and indirect violence, such as the partial enslaving of the indigenous population; forced displacement from land their livelihood depended on; the distribution of smallpox infected blankets to subdue the First Nations; or the abduction of Indigenous children from their communities to force them into the residential school system with the aim to erase everything that made them Indigenous. In Canadian mainstream discourse, e.g. in school lessons about the country's history, the colonial violence tends to be treated (if at all) as a chapter in history that is now closed. As a consequence, the continual violence against Indigenous peoples is hardly made an issue in the Canadian public yet is at the same time normalized and justified with the help of tales of peril and a 'different lifestyle': One case in point is the significant rate of missing and murdered Indigenous women whose cases were not properly investigated. A National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls concluded in 2019 that the extraordinary level of deadly violence is "caused by state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies". The commission found that prejudice, stereotypes, and inaccurate beliefs and attitudes about Indigenous women and girls prevented police from investigating. Hence, in a powerful, mutually reinforcing mode settler colonial interpretive frames which draw distorted pictures of Indigenous people are interwoven with the colonial system of legality that intersects with different areas of social discrimination. It will be argued that colonial narratives that continue to construct Indigenous people as a threat to Canadian settler society are predisposing factors and need to be deconstructed and countered in order to break the ongoing cycle of violence.


Prof. Dr. Monika Wingender

(De)communization and (De)colonization in Russia and Ukraine before February, 24th

The contribution assesses the use of memory to legitimize future violence. After the collapse of the USSR, strategies of decommunization were prevalent in both Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine continues to pursue these with growing intensity to this day, which is particularly evident since the Euromaidan. In Russia, by contrast, Soviet nostalgia grew. Putin's narrative of the collapse of the USSR as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe triggered increasing resovietization of Russia. Thus, the initial cultural concept of the "Russky Mir" increasingly served as a basis for Putin's legitimization strategies in his policy against Ukraine, even including violence. We analyze the different ways of dealing with the Soviet legacy before Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. The focus is on the role of culture and language in Ukraine and Russia.


Sybille Frank, Technical University of Darmstadt

 Memory before (and after) Terrorist Acts of Violence: Urbicides at Breitscheidplatz

Berlin On 19 December 2016, a terrorist steered a moving truck into the stalls at the Christmas market on Berlin's Breitscheidplatz. Thirteen civilians died in the attack, more than sixty people were injured. This paper uses the concept of Urbicide to illuminate the complex and contradictory spatial and temporal transformations of Breitscheidplatz since the attack. In the research debate on political violence, Urbicide has been conceptualized as the targeted destruction of busy urban public places where socially, politically and/or culturally different people may mix and openly encounter each other. These places are generally considered the epitome of urbanity. The paper discusses whether and how the attempt to disrupt the urbanity of Breitscheidplatz punctually through the terrorist attack has eventually, through the memory of this act of political violence, led to a permanent destruction of urbanity. While such a research perspective could easily be categorized as 'Memory after Violence', this paper argues that the commemoration of the terrorist attack, that became manifest in the fast erection of a memorial, has subsequently been replaced by the memory-based anticipation of potential similar future violent acts. By this, 'Memory before Violence' has induced an unprecedented architecture of fear at Breitscheidplatz. While the commemoration of the victims of the attack still plays an important part in the spatial transformation of Breitscheidplatz, attempts to prevent such attacks in the future have resulted in new spatial boundary-makings that powerfully structure both material urban space and spaces of imagination of the urban. 

Professor for Urban Sociology and Sociology of Space
,
TU Darmstadt
Prof. Dr.
,
Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany
Head of Research Department V
,
Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)
Professor of Slavistics
,
Justus Liebig University Giessen
Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
,
Center for Conflict Studies, Philipps University Marburg
Professor Astrid Erll
Professor
,
Goethe University Frankfurt / The Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform
Associate Professor
,
University of Tartu
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