Making histories: Europe, traditions and other present pasts
This chapter looks first at some of the background to interest in these questions among anthropologists of Europe, focusing on interest in the invention of tradition. It then presents and discusses a range of examples and debates about the making of histories and variations in forms of historical consciousness in Europe. This includes a sustained example from my own work on a European project whose aim was to try to identify the elusive possibility of ‘European historical consciousness’. As I argue, such projects – and academic research on history and memory in Europe more generally – are not only ‘meta’ reflections of what is occurring in Europe but themselves play a constitutive part in producing Europe as a particular kind of space and possibility.