10.10.2014

Remembering migration: Memory politics of forced migration in mediated societies

Project leader: Karina Horsti

Duration: 2014 – 2019

Academy of Finland Research Fellowship

 

Project description:

This project examines how contemporary forced migration and vulnerable migrants are publicly remembered in the cultural arenas of two mediated societies—Finland and Italy—and what kinds of implications different types of memory performances have for social equality and cultural identities. In this examination, the role of media practices and new media technologies in collective remembering are of particular interest. Italy and Finland are connected by Europeanized migration and asylum politics. While both countries guard external Schengen borders, southern Italy is constructed as a borderized zone. Furthermore, memories of emigration, forced migration and war are still present in the collective consciousness in both countries. The project is organized around a qualitative analysis of three case studies reflecting memory performances, in which forced migration is addressed in some way. Each case study addresses the research questions on representation, media practices and the dynamics between the past and the present. In all three studies, the role of participatory culture in the construction of cultural memory and counter memory, ‘mnemonic resistance’, is scrutinized. Museum and art exhibitions, memorials, public events, social networking sites and different types of media material are analysed qualitatively using ethnographic, textual and visual analysis methods. In addition, interviews with artists, activists, participating migrants and other agents provide new material. Methodologically, the project is situated in the field of media anthropology.

In this study, remembering refers to an active and public performance of memory that has a commemorative aspect. This focus enables the empirical study of the politics of recognition that is central to social theory. In so doing, the project develops a new research agenda in the intersection of media, memory, migration and humanitarian action. Through collaboration with cultural institutions and different agents, the project provides insight into how transforming memory politics can contribute to sustainable cultural policy and civic activism in creative, critical and inclusive ways.

 

In Finnish:

Muistin politiikka ja siirtolaisuus mediavälitteisissä yhteiskunnissa

Tutkimuksessa tarkastellaan kulttuurisen muistin ja julkisen muistamisen rakentumista suhteessa nykypakolaisuuteen, turvapaikanhakijoihin ja dokumentoimattomiin siirtolaisiin Suomessa ja Italiassa. Muistamista käsitellään tässä hankkeessa julkisen tunnustamisen näkökulmasta. Erilaiset muistamisen esitykset, kuten näyttelyt, muistomerkit ja muistopäivät tuottavat sosiaalista tunnustusta tietyille ryhmille. Tutkimuksessa tarkastellaan, miten julkinen muistaminen muokkaa kulttuurisia identiteettejä yhtäältä erottaen ja toisaalta yhteisöllisyyttä tuottaen. Kolmen tapaustutkimuksen kautta analysoidaan erityisesti uuden median ja osallistavan kulttuurin roolia kulttuurisen muistin sekä "vastamuistin" rakentumisessa. Aineistoa diskurssianalyysiä ja semioottista analyysiä soveltavaan tutkimukseen kootaan pakotettua siirtolaisuutta käsittelevistä muistamisen paikoista: museoista, näyttelyistä, festivaaleilta, julkisista kannanotoista, sosiaalisen median yhteisöistä ja valtamediasta.