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The Images of the Past in Modern Social and Political Discourse: Social Significance, Constructive and Destructive Potential, Communative Trends

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Abstract. The discussion is devoted to the concept of “memory wars”. Discussants outlined their positions around problems of modern historical science. Is it possible to remember the past without conflict? Is modern mass (screen) culture capable of pacifying “memory wars”? How do public discourse and academic polemic compare in “battles for history”? In order to answer these questions, discussants analyzed the status of actors, institutions and practices of memory policy in the strategies for the formation of national and regional identities in Russia. Moreover, they described the methods and prospects of popular geopolitics in the subject field of memory studies, studied the history and ethnopolitics in post-Soviet Kabardino-Balkaria and illustrated the nature of conflicts for status in the context of “battles for the past” in the Circassian community of the republic.

Keywords: historical politics, historical memory, cultural memory, memory studies, ethnopolitics, commemorative, commemorative practices.

Discussion questions:
1. Is it possible to remember about the past without conflicts?
2. How do anniversary events become memorable dates? What is the constructive and destructive potential in commemoration trends and identity formation strategies?
3. Is modern mass (screen) culture capable of pacifying “wars of memory”?
4. “Like-minded”, opponents or competitors: are requests for the past different from the state and society?
5. How are public discourse and academic debate related in “fights for history” and what are the actors, range of tasks, arsenal of means and scale of achievements?

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