Resources/discussion on the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of cultural heritage studies

Revolution and counter-revolution

Published in the International Journal of Heritage Studies

Revolutions have powerful effects on the way the past is presented and
perceived. In former communist states of Eastern Europe, following the
revolutions establishing the regimes, a further sudden inversion has been
regularly experienced in the aftermath of the fall of the Eastern Bloc. In
this paper, I will comparatively discuss these changes through the lens of
Albania. The discussion will highlight how the first communist revolution of
the 1940s changed the way the Albanian state looked at its heritage and how
this perspective was again completely transformed in the aftermath of the
1991. In both cases the perception of the periods immediately preceding the
revolutionary events were those mostly affected. In particular, as regards the
second revolution, in Albania, as in many other cases, after a long silence, the
perspective adopted by the main stakeholders in the new democratic order
was to characterise the heritage of communism in terms of trauma and terror.
While these aspects undoubtedly encapsulate key features, there is more
to processes of memory and heritage making related to this period. Private
memories can sometimes produce rather different narratives of the same
recent past, creating a clash with the representation put forward by the state.

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