Making Individual Memory Visible in the Public Space

ISA Forum
Aniko Boros

Call for Papers - Making Individual Memory Visible in the Public Space
Third ISA Forum
Vienna, Austria, 10-14 July 2016
Host committee: RC38 Biography and Society

Both traditional historical and classical memory narratives were greatly determined by the recollection of the figure of the hero. National identities were built around the heroic deeds of the great man who then served as historical, social and cultural models for the particular society. Within this process of inscribing the exemplarity of heroes into collective memory the public space (through its statues, street names, memorial plaques and other memorial signs) typically played an essential role. What happens, however, when the everyday man takes over the urban space?
Both social history and qualitative sociology (especially biographical research) “discovered” the everyday men behind macro historical events: these trends cannot imagine the understanding of society without the understanding of the experiences of the individual.
The proposed session intends to elaborate the relationship of individual memories and the urban space in the format of a regular session, focusing on the following questions: How does the biography of everyday man become articulated in the urban space and how does others’ biographical presentation affect its own? How do urban experiences and public representations become part of the narration of the individual’s life story? How do memories of the everyday man increasingly flood the public space (see examples commemorating everyday man such as the Stolpersteine project) and how does the individual challenge particular memorials (see vandalization of statues)? How do collective and individual processes of remembering mutually shape each other in and through the urban space?


Juli Szekely

CEU Budapest

Making Individual Memory Visible in the Public Space, 10.07.2016 Vienna, in: H-Soz-Kult, 24.04.2015, <>.
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