Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe
Edited By Jacek Kurczewski
Memory Sites versus Antagonism and Reconciliation: The Case of Polish-Czech Relations
What constitutes an intrinsic element of each concept of reconciliation sociology is the issue of memory. The reconciliation of feuding groups, despite receiving the impulse from contemporary tendencies, is immersed in the past which raised the conflict between these groups. Although reconciliation refers to the present moment and, first of all, to the future, it cannot take place without an attempt to face the painful past. At the same time, it is worth remembering that the process of reconciliation provides the social group’s memory with new senses and symbols. Examining the reconciliation process also means examining both the memory and work that the collective memory of a particular group performs, the work performed in a similar way as in the case of individual memory. This is obviously an imperfect analogy. The work consists in the reinterpretation of the own past as the reconciliation process becomes possible with the moment when an attempt is undertaken to set an agreeable interpretation of the common past. This work becomes feasible in the field of collective memory on the one hand and in the field of history on the other. In short, the sociological perspective focuses mostly on examining collective memory1, whereas the historical perspective focuses on investigating history. Pierre Nora clearly differentiates between these two perspectives by juxtaposing the notions of history and memory. The latter, however, undoubtedly refers to collective memory. Nora states that the notions of history and memory are not synonyms and that in modern society they have become two...
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