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Article dans une revue International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society Année : 2019

Administrations of Memory: Transcending the Nation and Bringing back the State in Memory Studies


This introduction to the special issue start from the point that studying the politics of memory should also involve studying the governance and policies of memory: its administrations. The increasing importance of transnational and local scales in memory studies seems to have made the nation a less relevant starting point from which to conceptualize memory. Yet, states progressively attempt to administer memory. This suggests that we should focus at once on transcending methodological nationalism and bringing back the state in the study of the politics of memory. This involves thinking about administrations of memory both in terms of the processes of dispensing or aiding memory and as the state bodies that are authorized and expected to manage memory. As such, this introductory chapter is structured around two issues: (a) the interactions between transnational, national, and local scales in policy trajectories, practices, and discourses on memory and (b) the role of governance and administration in understanding memory as a category of public intervention. Both sets present a thumbnail case to illustrate the issues at stake, and taken together, they develop our ongoing reflexions on memory as a contemporary conduit for practicing politics and setting up political institutions. The ambition is for memory studies to gain a firmer understanding of the governmental and technocratic co-production of political languages for memory as they are themselves shaped in the policymaking process by (trans)national institutional practices and bureaucratic conduits. In turn, political science approaches on the whole may gain from a firmer appreciation and conceptualization of the structures and carriers of collective memory in and across particular political cultures, which may also lead to more reflexive policy instrumentation and programming in contemporary societies trying to deal in and with the past.
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halshs-02081112, version 1 (01-09-2021)



Sara Dybris Mcquaid, Sarah Gensburger. Administrations of Memory: Transcending the Nation and Bringing back the State in Memory Studies. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 2019, 32 (2), pp.125-143. ⟨10.1007/s10767-018-9300-3⟩. ⟨halshs-02081112⟩
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