Daten zum Projekt

Mnemonic Populism in Europe.

Initiative: Freigeist-Fellowships
Ausschreibung: Freigeist Kollegium
Bewilligung: 11.04.2022
Laufzeit: 5 Jahre


This project explores the role of collective memory in right-wing populism. Following the most commonly accepted definitions of populism as a form of political communication based on a moral dichotomy between the pure people and the corrupt elite, in which the former are considered to be the only legitimate source of political power, I define mnemonic populism as poll-driven, moralistic and anti-pluralist imaginings of the past. By exploring the mechanisms of mnemonic populism in seven post-socialist countries - Belarus, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine - I bring together memory and populism studies in order to explain what can happen to history in illiberal surroundings.The innovativeness of my project lies in its holistic approach toward political agency. Whereas the study of memory politics has usually been focused on mnemonic strategies pur-sued by the state, I acknowledge the critical role of the entanglements between political ac-tors and social movements. What is more, the activities pursued by right-wing authorities and activists are only part of a much larger universe consisting of heterogeneous and yet mutually reinforcing cultural and commercial developments. As a result, I set out to explore different settings of populist memory-making extending between the official and unofficial, political and popular, and public and private forces. The main challenge of this project is to investigate the scarcely documented, usually diffuse, and often short-lived work done by the unofficial, private, and popular creators of collective memory, and to estimate their social impact. Given that the politics of memory are increasingly interwoven with digital culture I intend to bridge the gap between humanities and computer science in order to make a substantial contribution to digital hermeneutics.


  • Dr. Kornelia Konczal

    Universität Bielefeld
    Fakultät f Geschichtswiss, Philosophie u Theologie
    Abteilung Geschichtswissenschaft