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Journal Article

The Politics of Memory in a Divided Society: A Comparison of Post-Franco Spain and Post-Soviet Ukraine

Oxana Shevel
Slavic Review
Vol. 70, No. 1 (SPRING 2011), pp. 137-164
DOI: 10.5612/slavicreview.70.1.0137
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5612/slavicreview.70.1.0137
Page Count: 28
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The Politics of Memory in a Divided Society: A Comparison of Post-Franco Spain and Post-Soviet Ukraine
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Abstract

Abstract Through a comparison of post-Franco Spain and post-Soviet Ukraine, Oxana Shevel examines state responses to the challenge of dealing with divided historical memory. Both countries embarked on the transition from authoritarian rule divided by the memory of the recent past, but each dealt with this similar challenge very differently. This article discusses Spain’s “democratization of memory” policy centered on the state’s refusal to define a common historical memory for the society as a whole and on the official recognition of the multiplicity of “personal and family” memories and examines why no comparable policy has emerged in Ukraine so far. Shevel considers the potential applicability of the Spanish solution to Ukraine in light of both social realities and theories of nation building, in particular the debate over whether national unity necessitates a cultural nation and shared collective memory, or whether unity in a democracy can be built on other foundations.

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