The collapse of hegemonial normality: migration and the politics of memory in the U.S., UK and France

The collapse of hegemonial normality:
migration and the politics of memory in the U.S., UK and France

Article received: 2022.04.07. Accepted: 2022.06.14

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2023.01.06

For citation:

Malakhov V.S., Letnyakov D.E. The collapse of hegemonial normality: migration and the politics of memory in the U.S., UK and France. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No. 1. P. 60-74. (In Russ.). EDN: AVSAQN

The article was written on the basis of RANEPA state assignment research programme.


The study deals with the transformation of memory politics in the USA, Great Britain and France, and has for purpose to analyze the nature of this transformation. The authors question the assumption that conflicts over a legitimate version of the past were caused by a “minority rebellion” (blacks in the case of the US, descendants of non-European migrants in the case of the UK and France). The article demonstrates that the request for a revision of the dominant narrative regarding the national past was formulated and articulated within civil society, and, accordingly, is not limited to the claims of minorities. The authors rely on an agonistic approach to collective memory, in which the latter is understood as the result of certain conventions emerging in the course of constantly renewed debates in society about one’s own past. The presentation is focused on the analysis of public discussions around the content of school education, the set of official holidays and memorable dates, the appearance of urban spaces and expositions in museums in the three mentioned countries. The findings suggest that the watershed in commemorative conflicts runs not along the line of ethnic origin, but along the line of worldview. Behind the confrontation between different versions of historical memory, there is ultimately the clash of different “models” of the nation (more inclusive and less inclusive), and the very call for a revision of the dominant narrative rests on the issue of including previously excluded groups in the nation.

historical memory, cultural politics, politics of memory, memory conflicts, migration, the USA, Western Europe.


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Content No. 1, 2023

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