Commemoration: Contexts & Concepts

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This project deals with the theme of rituals of commemoration and memory. Examined from our present position at the ‘end of history’, this period of centenaries offers an opportunity to reflect on how our society has been shaped by the past, and how our means of commemorating the past shapes our society.

This project is led by Dr John O’Brien (WIT) and Dr Lorcan Byrne (UCC).

Rituals and practices of commemoration are important as they are a source of ethics, shape collective identity and foster solidarity, create traditions, give meaning through providing a sense of where we have come from and where we are going, they articulate the material interests of group members and facilitate collective action, they represent a way of processing traumatic events of the past, and are potentially a means of defusing conflict through dealing with shame and anger over past actions. Such rituals and practices are particularly important in the context of our current age of permanent presentness and permanent change (Bauman 1999), based on an anomic, post-traditional culture, driven by the expansion of mediated experiences and rapid change, in which ethical memory has become clouded.

Conference 2015 [here]

Colloquium, June 2016 [here]