The Everyday of Memory

Rabikowska coverThe Everyday of Memory explores manifestations of the communist past in the everyday lives of Eastern Europeans today. Representing a wide range of disciplines including cultural studies, film studies, urban studies, sociology, media, literature and art, the contributors to this book question the myth of a homogeneous Eastern European identity (as opposed to its historical Western counterpart). At the same time, they insist that those who experienced communism have a ‘right to remember’, and that their memories offer an alternative to the project of globalizing capitalism.
The volume presents a critique of the current withdrawal of Eastern European politics from discussion of the communist past, in which the latter tends to be regarded as an obstacle to the neoliberal transition to democracy. As the book’s microstudies of the everyday life of memory show, communism has never been isolated from its capitalist nemesis: the two systems have been intertwined in the post-Enlightenment interplay of the humanist ideals that underpin the modernist project. Through a close observation of the unconstrained ways in which memory works, this book offers an insight into the paradoxes of the two ideological powers which posited the subservient homo sovieticus against the civilized homo economicus. The book also invites debate about the contemporary relevance of the ideological polarization of communism and capitalism.

Marta Rabikowska is Principal Lecturer in Creative Industries at the University of Hertfordshire. She researches cultural identities, lifestyles and representations, and she is also a community activist and a filmmaker.

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