Accepted Paper:

Local landscape as a substratum for the collective memory  


Katja Hrobat Virloget (University of Primorska)

Paper short abstract:

The paper researches the relation between memory of village communities, imagination and the landscape. Local collective memories about the distant beginnings retain only what has been materialized in the local landscape. Through imagination the archaeological remains connect into a coherent system of collective memory and identity of a village community, while non-materialized events are sunk into oblivion.

Paper long abstract:

Insofar it wants to be preserved, memory cannot do without a certain support; in the form of personality, objects or in the materiality of space. Collective memory depends on the symbolism of space, from where it also draws its history and identity. The landscape embodies the tradition of predecessors, through which the local community is bound to the place which it inhabits, and explains their existence 'since the times immemorial' (Halbwachs 1971; 2001; Fabietti, Mattera 1999). Local landscape can also be understood in the sense of lieu de memoire, as a symbolic place, in which the images, abundant with meanings for a certain community, are condensed (Nora 1984). Through the sensing of place (Basso 2002), people encounter material objects in which the past is embodied, which allow for unconscious remembering and re-engagement with past experience to a greater extent than language or speech (Rowlands 1993). The landscape is perceived in terms of an event, cultural perception, which includes the practice of remembering (Ingold 2000; Casey 1996).

The main questions are: How is collective memory about the distant past constructed at the local/regional level of the landscape? How does collective memory function in relation to "its materialization" and toward distance in time? How is the Christian collective construction inscribed and preserved in the local landscape and how does it gain in authority in relation to pagan mythical structures? The interdisciplinary research between ethnology and archaeology is founded in extensive fieldwork in the villages of Karst, the region along the border between Slovenia and Italy.

Panel W110
Enacting pasts and futures: memory, identity and imagination