chapter  1
5 Pages

On the politics of remembering (or not)

ByRuth Wodak, John E. Richardson

Almost daily, the founding of museums or lieux de me´moire, of sites commemorating the past

are reported, as is the staging of commemorative events which celebrate the end of wars, vic-

tories, the beginning of new eras or the creation of (trans)national states.1 These events

usually all have at least one particular function in common: they mark the end of a collectively

perceived traumatic experience and signal that ‘we’ have moved on. In this way, success stories

are discursively constructed and promoted in the public sphere, which usually serve to unify citi-

zens and create hegemonic narratives of national identity which find their way into the media,

schoolbooks, and so forth.2 For example, in Chile

These events also serve to draw a line under agonistic struggles and conflicting interpretations. It

seems as if only ONE past would exist, and ONE narrative which interprets it; or as quoted

above, an officially acknowledged range of narratives (amongst many others which remain in

the dark) are open to reflection. No further debates are deemed to be necessary.