Narrating Unity at the European Union’s new History Museum: A Cultural-Process Approach to the Study of Collective Memory

Publication Date: 
August 2016
European Journal of Sociology, August 2016, 57 (2)

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Power in sociological studies of memory is commonly understood as a function of political interests that are successfully framed as an inclusive and convincing story about selected elements of the past. By showing how negotiations of memory are driven by dynamics of symbolic exchange and by distinguishing techniques of narration emerging from this process, I develop a theoretical model that helps to better understand the locus of symbolic power in mnemonic agency. I consider the case of the plans surrounding a European history museum to show how persistent notions of cultural unity can be drafted in democratic societies.