Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Molden, B.
Resistant pasts versus mnemonic hegemony: On the power relations of collective memory
(2016) Memory Studies, 9 (2), pp. 125-142.

DOI: 10.1177/1750698015596014

The politics of history and memory in any society are determined by the relations of forces between hegemonic master narratives, defiant counter-memories, and silent majorities whose historical experience is rarely articulated in public. Based on Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, Ernesto Laclau, as well as postcolonial critique, this article explains historico-political processes through a specified reading of hegemony theory. Two common, though by no means unambiguous, terms are reloaded with specific definitions: politics of history as the political agency directed at the establishment of specific representations of the past, and memory cultures as the structural frameworks for these politics. This approach sheds light on the relationship between official and group-specific politics of history within defined memory cultures: the possibly conflictual interaction between those who interpret certain events, inscribe them into a historical canon and thus make them points of historical reference, and those who are the carriers, consumers, reproducers, but also challengers of this history. © 2015, The Author(s) 2015.

Author Keywords
Counter-memory; Foucault; Gramsci; hegemony; Laclau; memory culture; politics of history

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