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Negotiating Pasts in the Nordic Countries: Interdisciplinary Studies in History and Memory

Negotiating Pasts in the Nordic Countries: Interdisciplinary Studies in History and Memory (Hardback)

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Synopsis

The authors present a number of case studies, from the Middle Age to present time, about how the past has been made meaningful and relevant to people living in later periods. It is the process of selecting, interpreting and passing on meaning that we call negotiating the past. This process is loaded with tension in part stemming from the past itself, but which is often due to the various agents involved in the process as they represent different interests, understandings and points of view. At the same time, the process is marked by a wish to come to terms with unknown conditions, to develop some consensus, again not only with the past, but also with one's contemporaries. These dynamic and dialogical processes do not only concern the past as in "history", but rather a number of pasts, which are sometimes in conflict, but at other times harmoniously complement each other. The book should be viewed as a contribution to the international and interdisciplinary field of collective memory, which has grown large over the last decades.

Today, studies of commemorations and festivals, monuments, exhibitions and museums, historical films and narratives are numerous, and terms such as social memory, collective or collected memory, lieux de memoire all demonstrate the scholarly interest in how the past -- or images of it -- is constructed, composed and built up, but also demolished, dismantled and rejected. To learn more about the processes when dealing with the past is an important key to understanding why and how societies and communities change and evolve. The authors are Norwegian, Danish and Swedish scholars who have collaborated in a network on the subject between 2007 and 2009. They are employed at universities and university libraries throughout Scandinavia. Contributors: Anders Berge; Brita Brenna; Bernard Eric Jensen; Helge Jordheim; Kyrre Kverndokk; Anne Birgitte Ronning; Leiv Sem; Karen Skovgaard-Petersen; Erling Sverdrup Sandmo; Anna Wallette.

Anne Eriksen, professor Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo Jon Vidar Sigurdsson, professor, Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo.

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