Filozofija i Društvo (Jan 2006)

European-enlightenment and national-romanticist sources of cultural memory: Reflections in contemporary debates

  • Đerić Gordana

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2006, no. 30
pp. 77 – 88


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Each society is marked by a selective cultural memory which, beside events and traditions whose importance is emphasized, is also constituted by its parts and contents whose influence is either diminished or forgotten. Our society, too is marked by such kind of memory, with obvious reduction, value opposition and, in sum, general duality within the reception of cultural memory, which is always more complex than it appears in political speeches mother-tongue reading books or history textbooks. For this reason, an examination of construction and reception of cultural memory, with an emphasis on traditions of Enlightenment and Romanticism, stems from a necessity to answer a set of questions regarding the contemporary relation to the past, the way "distance" or "proximity" to the latter is constituted, and especially the way in which contemporary practices mark, change and make use of cultural history. Starting from the assumptions that shaping cultural history, its heritage and "memory" is closely connected to the beginnings of nation-building and that cultural memory is a never-ending political process it is my intention in this research project to examine the rivalry juxtapositions, "interruptions" and new foundations of traditions, focusing on the interdependent relation of Enlightenment and Romanticist strands, and particularly on their unmarked, empty spots. Just as cultural memory is a result of two opposed processes - foregrounding and oblivion - so this research is similarly devoted to a double and apparently paradoxical task. On one hand, the accent is on the resurrection and reinforcement of integrative segments of these traditions which, at the time of their emergence as well as in subsequent interpretations, were mostly neglected. On the other hand there is the need to keep pace with what is required by the current "acceleration of time", which amounts to nothing else but the necessity to forget. Briefly put, the aim is to point to disciplinary-interdependent, more nuances and more communicative ways of viewing these relations, which would diminish the exclusivist and profound opposition within the contemporary reception of the traditions examined.