Memory, political culture and institutional change : a comparative perspective
The scope of my project is ambitious, probably excessively so. I would like to identify those elements of memory that impinge upon the political culture both of the elites and of the citizens and exercise an impact on (the construction of) the institutions. Memories of past political occurrences which according to the interpretation by specific and significant social groups (and/or influential elites) are defined extremely important and dramatic significantly contribute to the shaping of political culture, opening and/or foreclosing alternative paths to change. My initial hypothesis is those interpretations are especially significant when they refer to dramatic events whose recurrence must be prevented. In a way, they may be structured as warning memories or negative memories. My intervening hypothesis is that, when there are several carriers of different memories who try to affect institutional change, it is more likely that the winners will be those who promise change, perhaps, a limited amount of change, with respect to the past. My concluding hypothesis is that, nevertheless, even defeated memories will maintain a presence in the political culture at large or of some specific groups, provided they are enshrined in a political organization.
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