Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Anthropological inquiries on the politics of memory in contemporary Europe  


Lorena Anton (University of Bucharest)

Paper short abstract:

In applying an anthropological approach to the politics of memory in post-communist Europe, as a form of constructing a 'European identity', the paper proposes a case study on contemporary Romania's ways of remembering the past, more precisely its pronatalist one.

Paper long abstract:

In January 2006, PACE voted upon the Resolution 1481, or 'Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes'. Although it did not receive the necessary of votes, the resolution determined a long debate all over Europe. In short, a need for coming to terms with the communist past was and still is a problematic issue on the Europe's agenda, giving birth to different politics of memory at the level of each member state and strongly influencing the intra-European relations.

In applying an anthropological approach on the contemporary politics of memory in Europe, regarding our communist past, my intervention intends to analyze those memo-politics in nowadays Romania, taking as a case study the present remembering of pronatalism and Ceausescu's demographic policies. From 1966 to 1989, the Romanian Communist Party prohibited by law the right of pregnancy interruption, all in the name of the sanctity of the Romanian communist nation. The social memory of those times constitutes, over the years, an alternative discourse to the Party's pronatalist propaganda. But, in the public sphere of contemporary Romania, those memories are as absent as in its Communist times, fact which has its influence on Romanian's reproductive health.

The main aim of my paper will thus be to discuss the ways by which remembering, as a social phenomenon, can and often influences the identity of societies. The analysis is based on an extensive fieldwork started in 2003, as well as related documentation, and has as theoretical background the interdisciplinary field of Memory Studies.

Panel W089
Europe and anthropology: new themes and directions in Europeanist eesearch