History as Cultural Memory: Mnemohistory and the Construction of the Estonian Nation
The question I want to address in this essay is a quite simple one, if not simplistic:what do Estonians remember of their past? More specifically, my intention is to analyse how the memories of different groups that make up the Estonian nation ‘are conveyed and sustained’ (Connerton 1989, p. 1). For this, I will focus mostly on the origins and nature of the narrative logic which enables one to pull a set of events from a nation’s past together into a coherent whole. However, before addressing this question, I would like to discuss the conceptual framework of my approach. In the last few decades, the theoretical language of collective memory has become increasingly important to historical and sociological research on how societies construct and understand what went before.1 This orientation to the study of how collectivities make sense of their own present through recourse to reconstructed narratives of their past also offers important insights to scholars of national identity.