Generational succession, culture, and politics: The shaping of Euro-Atlantic sites of memory

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Memory studies have often looked to the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain as the principal mediators of collective memory for the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Scholars have often assumed the primacy of political factors in memory work with Cold War politics understood as shaping collective memory both West and East of the Iron Curtain. The present article proposes to problematize these assumptions. While not negating the role of politics, it suggests that the changing cultural priorities of each successive generation were of greater importance than current memory analyses permit. Using the former KL Plaszow (Kraków, Poland) as a case study, this essay draws attention to the common features of memory work shared across the Euro-Atlantic world. Establishing how each of the postwar generations engaged with memory work to suit their particular needs this article analyses the impact that generational sensibilities had on memory sites.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalMemory Studies
Early online date13 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2019


  • Cold War
  • generational memory
  • Kraków
  • memory work
  • Plaszow

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