The Second World War and the Balkan Historikerstreit
David Bruce MacDonald
the proposition that, ‘the conflict is constituted in
the present, and that “history” is a resource in the contemporary struggle’.1
Peter Novick has also identified this process in his understanding of ‘collectivememory’, arguing that present concerns, and not just the ‘past working its
will on the present’, determine what aspects of history will be used by historians and when.2 In other words, history responds to present needs – there are
no eternal immutable laws that govern how the process operates.
Contrary to Anthony Smith’s position, however, history as a
of extempore verse which seem to have
lodged themselves with proverbial force within the collectivememory.59 Here
The genealogical histories of Gaelic Scotland
we remember Màrtainn Martin’s observation on the Western Isles that ‘the
natives are generally ingenious and quick of apprehension . . . several of both
sexes have a gift of poesy, and are able to form a satire or panegyric ex
tempore’.60 Alasdair Campbell also alludes to ‘extemporary rhymeing, a thing
much in use among the Highlanders’, 61 and provides representative instances
of rhymes and proverbs
travels to the city on a quest for her guerrilla son, and is killed, presumed murdered by agents of the state. Her prospective daughter-in-law Janifa mourns
her, is raped and becomes mad. When at the end of the novel Marita’s son
ﬁnally returns (though he may be merely an apparition in Janifa’s distressed
mind), Janifa rejects him. In contrast with the brute reality described by these
social relations, which occur both before and after the always implicit moment
of Zimbabwean independence, it is evident that collectivememory based in the
oral tradition, and enacted in
phenomenological condition of solitude might be a kind of cultural endowment of
the Conquest, religion via liberation theology could hermeneutically construct
another collectivememory, connecting the living in protest at the violent and
disordered past. In this respect, liberation theology should be seen as a modernist movement relating past and present (Lowy, 1996).
Liberationists expanded the repertoire of Christianity by stimulating questions
of ethics in base Christian communities. Constant reinterpretation of scripture
against the backdrop of present-day conditions put
The contrast with Kenyatta is striking. From his first
years in London, in 1929 and then again in 1932, Kenyatta adopted the
role of colonial gentleman, aspiring to all things English. 53 By 1938, in a
complex transformation, Kenyatta jettisoned this persona and refigured
himself as Gikuyu native, repository of the collectivememory of his
people. This was most evident in the frontispiece to
Potentials of disorder in the Caucasus and Yugoslavia
Jan Koehler and Christoph Zürcher
shared in the future – in modern parlance, a ‘collectivememory’ – is not necessary for reconciliation, and its expectation may in fact awaken counterproductive drives to recover a lost whole or to produce a harmonious community.
Instead, in order to reconcile, diﬀerent subjects must agree only to share a
present, a present that is non-repetitive. Politics of intersubjectivity may be
reached through the retribution of justice in judicial processes holding perpetrators publicly accountable for their deeds.
The case studies presented here
Marquand, D (1988), The Unprincipled Society, London, Fontana.
Marx, K. (1975), Early Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin).
Misztal, B. A. (1996), Trust in Modern Societies, Cambridge, Polity.
Offe, C. and Heinz, R. G. (1992), Beyond Employment, trans. A. Braley, Cambridge,
O’Neill, J. (1994), Ecology, Policy and Politics, London, Routledge.
Polanyi, K. (1944), The Great Transformation, New York, Beacon Press.
Rothstein, B. (no date), ‘Trust, social dilemmas and collectivememories’, mimeo.
Sanghera, B. S. (1998), ‘The social embeddedness of markets: the
peers was extremely limited. The party had also been severely affected by an
incident in 1988 which was to spell the ultimate demise of the political role of
the hereditary peerage. The incident entered the collectivememory of the
Labour party so that, when they returned to power, it was hardly surprising
that it should occupy their immediate attention.
In 1988 Margaret Thatcher’s government was trying to force through legislation to introduce the poll tax into local government. The poll tax was
extremely controversial, being seen in many quarters as unfair as it was
History, legend and memory in John Sayles’ Lone Star
Walter Benjamin, One-Way Street (London:
Verso, 1997), p. 352.
George Lipsitz, Time Passages: CollectiveMemory and American Popular Culture . (Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 1990), pp. 24–5.
Lipsitz, Time Passages , p. 27
the collectivememories of some public health administrators;
however, because the incident received so little mention in the press, it was
never able to serve as a platform for a wider national debate on PVL or the
risks associated with vaccination. While responsibility for the tragedy could
easily be placed on the severity of SCAP's vaccination policies, evidence
suggests a certain degree of complicity on the part of Japanese health policy