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'Memory Must Be Defended': Beyond the Politics of Mnemonical Security

Malksoo, Maria (2015) 'Memory Must Be Defended': Beyond the Politics of Mnemonical Security. Security Dialogue, 46 (3). pp. 221-237. ISSN 0967-0106. (doi:10.1177/0967010614552549) (KAR id:57050)


This article supplements and extends the ontological security theory in International Relations (IR) by conceptualizing the notion of mnemonical security. It engages critically the securitization of memory as a means of making certain historical remembrances secure by delegitimizing or outright criminalizing others. The securitization of historical memory by means of law tends to reproduce a sense of insecurity among the contesters of the ‘memory’ in question. To move beyond the politics of mnemonical security, two lines of action are outlined: (i) the ‘desecuritization’ of social remembrance in order to allow for its repoliticization, and (ii) the rethinking of the self–other relations in mnemonic conflicts. A radically democratic, agonistic politics of memory is called for that would avoid the knee-jerk reactive treatment of identity, memory and history as problems of security. Rather than trying to secure the unsecurable, a genuinely agonistic mnemonic pluralism would enable different interpretations of the past to be questioned, in place of pre-defining national or regional positions on legitimate remembrance in ontological security terms.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0967010614552549
Projects: The Power Politics of Memory in Eastern Europe: Securitising the Legacy of Communism in the Baltic States, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine, Memory at War: Cultural Dynamics in Poland, Russia and Ukraine
Uncontrolled keywords: Agonistic memory politics, Copenhagen School, desecuritization, identity, mnemonical security, ontological security
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Maria Malksoo
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2016 14:58 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:18 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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