Drawing Lessons from the Past: Mapping Change in Central and South-Eastern Europe

Aline Sierp*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This introductory article to the special section on “Europe’s Changing Lessons from the Past” argues for a close analysis of acts of public remembrance in Central and Eastern European countries in order to uncover the link between the issue of public memory and long-term processes of democratisation. In countries facing a period of transition after the experience of war and dictatorship, the debate over its memory is usually as much a debate about a divisive past as it is about the future. While it is part of a sensitive political scrutiny that is related to different ideas on how to ensure sustainable peace, it also provides the basis for the recreation of a common sense of belonging and identity. The often resulting coexistence of different memory traditions creates two clearly identifiable levels of conflict: one on the national level and one on the supranational one. In mapping change in Central and Eastern Europe, this special section aims at making the connections between the two visible by on the one hand questioning the sociological turn in Memory and EU Studies and on the other, pinpointing the necessity to concentrate on processes and not only on their results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalEast European Politics and Societies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Central and South-Eastern Europe
  • European Union
  • WWII
  • public memory
  • remembrance


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