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Transformation of Politics

Transformation of Politics


Though extremism may be on the rise on both ends of the political spectrum, the mobilisation of right-wing forces in a diverse set of countries poses a particular threat to democratic systems of governance and to inclusive political cultures. WG3 will analyse these threats through the lens of memory studies in three ways. First, right-wing and anti-democratic actors skilfully employ the politics of memory to persuade supporters and to drive societal actors into particular policy directions.

Thus, memory must be analysed as a tool for doing harm to democracy and social cohesion. Second, large-scale economic and social transformations of the past decades, particularly the rise of inequalities and disappearance of traditional certainties, have led citizens to search for new sources of solidarity.

This helps to explain the attraction of populism and can aid the development of (memory) policy responses to safeguard and reinvent democratic governance. Third, new multi-level modes of governance have redistributed the available symbolic and material technologies of governments with particular impacts for the formation of memory policy and policy communities.

WG3 will work towards a critical understanding of how new forms of governance give shape to new assemblages of memory politics and vice versa. Through such analysis, we aim to identify and develop mechanisms and approaches to thwart destructive deployments of the past with a view to deepening and strengthening democratic structures. Through a specific engagement with relevant policy communities this work will provide strategies to counteract those forces using the past as a means to undermine institutional democracy.

Engagement with policy and civil society actors will be a particular focus of  WG3. Developing new models of memorialisation that attempt to daylight slow memory processes in relation to established and emerging political actors will be the practical approach.

WG3 will map and seek to exploit the policy implications that arise when memory is treated as disconnected from sites of extreme events and framed in broader terms.

Meet the other Working Groups

WG1: Transformation of Work examines the decline of large-scale industry and the changing nature of the modern workplace, which has had significant effects on local communities and on individuals’ life perspectives. It seeks to develop slow memory concepts in relation to socio-economic analysis through exploring how remembrance practices can make visible economic transitions that are experienced unevenly and gradually. It brings methodological approaches to economic modelling and trends into dialogue with oral history techniques to develop new modes of narrating and visualising socio-economic change.
The current transformation of social welfare and growing inequalities in a slowly deteriorating care system lead us to seek a deeper understanding of how the future aspirations of community members are shaped and how these can be mediated through the practice of remembering. Bringing them together is the aim of WG2.
Societies gradually emerging from violent conflict face multiple challenges when it comes to dealing with the transgressions of the past and rebuilding the future. The overwhelmingly dominant approach in contemporary conflict resolution is to confront memories and narratives of conflict with a view to find consensus and promote reconciliation. This working group aims to develop ways of creating space for bringing together diverging circumstances, perspectives, experiences and practices into continued contestation and open-ended dialogues. We conceptualize the “slow transformation of conflict” as a form of peacebuilding, which is always a process, never an event.
WG5 will progress the conceptualization of slow environmental remembrance by drawing on the expertise and experience of stakeholder practitioners (e.g. environmental action groups, artists, curators, and museums). The resulting transdisciplinary dialogues between theory and practice will conceive of ways that environmental crisis can be remembered in radically expanded timeframes, laying the memorial foundations for future environmental policy work, and the theoretical foundations for analysing the forms, ethics, and politics of memory work that addresses the climate and ecological emergency.
How do global and local societies confront their past? How to they contend with current environmental, economic and social change? These are some of the main questions WG6 aims to tackle through collaborative exchanges and cooperation. We would like to create a shared understanding of slow memory as an approach and methodology more specifically utilized as a tool in comprehending to global and local grand-scale transformations and responding to their urgency and exigency .
WG7 is chaired by the Science Communication Manager and will ensure that the Action has a clear online profile and communication strategy. It will also have overall responsibility for updating and implementing the dissemination plan.
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