(Trans)national in vernacular mnemonic practices
Ulla Savolainen (University of Helsinki)
Kirsi Laurén (University of Eastern Finland)
Everyday Life
Aula 26
Wednesday 17 April, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The panel focuses on the dynamics between the 'national' and the 'transnational' in vernacular mnemonic practices (verbal, material, and performative). It explores manifestations of the 'national' in transnational settings, which arise from mobility of people and objects, and from new technology.

Long abstract:

Memory plays a crucially important role in identity processes of both individuals and communities. Selection, cultivation, manipulation, and presentation of ingredients of relevant past through various mnemonic practices participate in making of the present and the future. In the modern period, one of the most significant and self-evident frameworks for mnemonic practices and identity formations has been the 'national'. Through practices more often naturalized than not, individuals and communities - including scholarly ones - have built their understanding of the past on the basis of the image of nation as territorially, ethnically, and culturally bounded entity. However, since the 1980s, questioning of the self-evidence of national frames has become the new norm, at least among the Westernized academia. Indeed, new communication technologies and global capitalism has made the national framework in many ways redundant, whereas large-scale migration, both voluntary and forced, have questioned its entitlement and naturalness. In addition to the 'national', also the 'transnational' has since become a target of deconstruction. The aim of this panel is to take one step back and focus on the transformations and dynamics between the 'national' and the 'transnational' in various vernacular mnemonic practices (verbal, material, and performative). The panel investigates various roles and manifestations of the 'national' in trans- or extra-national settings, which arise from mobility of people, objects, and art, and from new technology enabling transnational communication and way of life. By focusing on the transformations of the 'national', the panel tracks changes in vernacular mnemonic practices in transnational contexts.