Memory politics worldwide is often shaped by the dynamics of relations and tensions between hegemonic narratives, counter-memories and silent communities at the global, national and local levels. Transnational advocacy movements, international agents and organisations influence the application of terminologies and frameworks in which global hegemonic narratives operate. State actors influence and shape hegemonic narratives, silence others or deny their existence in order to legitimise their incumbency and state/nation-building efforts. Local actors – from civil society groups to individuals – often counter top-down efforts of hegemonic narratives by the creation of their own narratives, memories or by silence. In post-conflict and conflict societies the relations between different groups and actors advocating hegemonic narratives becomes all the more acute and tense as the social and political fabric is eroded and in flux by the conflict-generated transformative changes.
How do we understand hegemonic narratives in post-war societies? What do we know about them? How can we conceptualise hegemonic narratives in research inquiry? What constitutes such narratives in societies emerging from conflicts or in the midst of conflict? What is their role in relation to other mnemonic practices such as silencing, forgetting, neglecting, amnesia, or denial? And if they are, in what way do they differ? This symposium seeks to discuss these and other questions using a large number of case studies that can speak to some aspects of memory politics and hegemonic narratives.