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Representations of the Past in the International Public Spaces: Practices and Limitations of Memorial Diplomacy

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Abstract. The article investigates the questions of how strong the cultural memory is presented in the international or intercultural spaces and how specific representations of the past are presented in memorial diplomacy. As demonstrated, the emergence of con¬sensual interpretive patterns for two or more national communities can be complicated by the difference in national narratives, in history policy, and in commemorative practices. In contrast to the national traditions of remembering the transnational communication is based to a larger extent on precise legal concepts than on historical descriptions. The habitual honoring the past in monuments also applies to the international public spaces, but it does not always lead to the desired effects. Instead of it, this habit leads to the trivialization of traumatic experiences, to the reinterpretation of memory images with the monument’s demolition, and to possible diplomatic conflicts. The author comes to the conclusion that, in contrast to national narratives, clothed in rather vague formulations, more precise legal terms and categories are used in international public spaces, although the difference in their interpretation and enforcement traditions contains significant conflicting potential.

Keywords: memorial diplomacy, memorial spaces, commemorative practices, national narratives, globalization, genocide, apologies.

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