Ur det förflutnas skuggor - historiediskurs och nationalism i Tyskland 1990-2000
Sammanfattning: The subject of this study is the re-construction of German national identity and nationalist thinking within the framework of the 1990s’ history discourse in relation to the Nazi past and the Holocaust. The empirical focus is on national politics and the press. Maurice Halbwachs’ social constructionist theory on collective memory and Jan Assmann’s thesis on the defining power of elites in the cultural memory are combined with a hegemony perspective and the tools of discourse analysis. The notion normalization is identified as the hub in a hegemonical intervention starting in the 1980s: a set of different texts, articulations and acts, referring to the Nazi past, regarding German nation-statehood as natural and promoting positive connotations about the German nation, through relativization or a diminishing of Nazi crimes in the collective memory. I argue that, due to the decline of self-experienced, communicative memory and the GDR collapse, a new societal consent was possible; one that now integrates Holocaust memory and German identity. However, the nationalist instrumentalization of this new framework has weakened the barriers against xenophobia and antisemitism. The intense history discourse of the 1990s is expressive of the transition conflict about the selection and rearrangement of public recollections needed for a new equilibrium in German society. Case studies: Buchenwald, Neue Wache Berlin, Holocaust Memorial Berlin.
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