#7 Memory, Narrative, Identity
Parallel sessions on Friday 25.11. at 15.00-16.15
Location: Juhlasali, Unioninkatu 33

Tamar Karaia (Tbilisi State University) – Making and remaking memories: power and policy-making process in contemporary Georgia

As a former Soviet republic, Georgia began dealing with soviet inheritance in 90th, but there was no contiguous politics of memory until 2003. The submitted paper aims to analyze the influence of foreign policy priorities on the formation and transformation of master narratives in post-Rose Revolution Georgia. The leading indicators of this process are implementing a systematic memory policy, developing a master narrative, and consolidating the nation. This narrative has a hegemonic character and is strongly influenced by foreign policy priorities. According to the research assumption, while regulating relations with the Russian Federation, the official discourse was oriented to recall the glory time of Georgia, invent traditions, heroes, or traitors, and establish commemorative ceremonies. However, after the developments, 2005-06 years' the general tendencies of memory policy changed rapidly.

The main content of the master narrative was oriented to develop a picture of Georgia as a victim of the Soviet system. They claimed that creating the collective memory must be prioritized as the leading national security issue. Alongside, "memory sites" were copied from Eastern European countries, and their counter-Russian and pro-European character have chosen those cases. After changing government in 2012, the normalization of the relationship with the Russian federation promoted a period of Georgian democratic republic and decreased occupation thems. Still, we face bottom-up movements aiming to activate memories of the Soviet occupation. To analyze the main aspects of these narratives' formation and transformation, we studied state officials' political discourse from 2003-to 2021. Among them were speeches and interviews of former Presidents, rapports of commissions, etc. We conducted in-depth interviews with state officials, representatives of museums, historians, etc. Analyzed conceptions of museums, sculptures, TV series, and bills devoted to the memory policy.

Hanna Rautajoki (Tampere University) – Moral casting and politically persuasive narration in the case of Capitol Hill 2021

In my paper I study the mobilization of narrative resources in political persuasion under the turmoil of postfactual era in contemporary western democracies. The idea of public sphere has transformed from the ideals of joint rational and critical deliberation towards experiential exchange, affective undertones and polarization. As an empirical case, I will focus on strategies deployed in populist rhetoric in the case of Capitol Hill invasion in the United States on 6 Jan 2021. My paper investigates in detail the speech given by the President Donald Trump prior to the scene of people marching towards and invading into the Capitol Building.

I analyse the speech by Trump with tools from narrative positioning analysis and cultural membership categorization analysis. My study associates with epistemic governance approach, seeking to unravel the ontological, identity-based and normative strategies actors deploy in political persuasion. I will apply concepts and frameworks from narrative studies to carve out an increasingly prominent phenomenon in political address, which I call political fictionality. I apply two conceptualizations in my analysis 1) the moral casting of actors (Rautajoki 2012) and 2) the relational scaffolding of justifications (Rautajoki, forthcoming). My theoretical interest lies in the projective effects of discursive identifications.

Peter Stankovic (University of Ljubljana) – Symbolic universe of folk pop music and reproduction of social inequalities in Slovenia

Even though Slovenian folk pop did not emerge before the 1950s, Slovenians tend to regard it as one of the most important expressions of their national musical and cultural heritage. The main reason for this is probably its nostalgic symbolic universe, which constructs life in rustic communities as an unspoilt ideal. Things have changed in recent years, however. First with the emergence of Slovenian turbo-folk, where musicians combined folk pop with eroticised lyrics and EDM dance beats, and later by appropriation of various musical, visual and symbolic elements of the mainstream pop.

In order to understand symbolic universe of the contemporary Slovenian folk pop, we have conducted a textual analysis of 20 recent folk pop hits. The analysis has shown that contemporary Slovenian folk pop departs in many respects from the established musical and cultural conventions of the genre. Most notably, its symbolic register includes several signifies of modernity (contemporary clothes, romantic love, urban settings etc.: previously, these have been almost completely absent). Yet in spite of such references, contemporary Slovenian folk pop does not depart significantly from the traditionalism of the older folk pop: in the analysed songs, there is a notable absence of cultural, life-style, etc. diversities, whereas the symbolic structure itself is extremely stabile and normative. Given that previous research has shown that the majority of folk pop fans come from the disadvantaged social backgrounds (older, less-educated population from the countryside), such apparently modern yet actually traditional symbolic structure is problematic at least on two levels. First, it impedes its fans’ semantic competences for dealing with the challenges of semantically increasingly complex contemporary economy, and second, it reproduces exclusion of social groups that do not fit in its narrow framework of normality.