Monuments and the sited struggles of memorialisation

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Editor's choice: introduction to the special collection of Space and Culture
There are lieux de mémoire, sites of memory, because there are no longer milieux de mémoire, real environments of memory.
(Nora, 1989, p. 7)

The myth of places as singular, as abstract, as unified, gives cover to efforts to tie memory to place. As Nora’s work on the “conquest and eradication of memory by history” (1989, p. 8) demonstrates, national narratives are “put together” through a “memorial consciousness” (1989, p. 12). Because memories are made in place, the act of re-membering (as a reconstitution of material with immaterial) in fact always encounters trouble when trying to anchor narratives and communities to singular and definitive versions of events. Thus memorials “as the final word” are impossible within an understanding of place as performative and agentic.

Over the last 24 years, Space and Culture has published much important work on cultural memory, space, and place. This Virtual Special Issue looks back over the journal for key works that illustrate how this memorial consciousness works through, and encounters resistances within, the spaces of everday life. These articles also speak to a growing body of literature on the politics of materiality and place within public histories (Bendiner-Viani, 2019; Hibberd et al., 2019; Hocking, 2015; Nelson, 2003; Sergel, 2016). The articles linked here are part of wider discussions about the critical need to reclaim, reimagine and rematerialise our relationship to past injustices and exclusions within the material turn, including a forthcoming (2021) special issue on “Sites of Conscience” (see Steele & Lloyd 2019).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-344
Number of pages4
JournalSpace and Culture
Issue number2
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


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