‘Defending Memory’: Exploring the Relationship Between Mnemonical In/Security and Crisis in Global Politics


Abstract


This article outlines the theoretical foundations and the themes covered by this special issue. By focusing on securitization of historical memory, our goal is to contribute to Critical Security studies by highlighting the potential of securitization of memory as an emerging research program in this field. A state’s history and how it is presented, interpreted, altered, and contested form an essential element of its identity. In securitized contexts, historical memory becomes a security issue when both state and non-state actors engage in “defending memory”—a situation when “our” past is viewed as misunderstood by “Others”, and it becomes critical to defend “our” memory, which is seen as essential for the survival of “our” state. Employing the notion of “defending memory” enriches the study of crises in international relations, allowing us to conceptualize them as engines of new discourses. These theoretical insights are tested by case studies of memory politics in Germany, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Ethiopia and Rwanda, highlighting the importance of emotional discourses and (re)burial practices.


Keywords: Memory; Securitization; Crisis; Identity; Global Politics

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