Voices of generations: the transfer of memories in the Baltics States


In the presentation I explore developments in generational memory studies across Europe with focus to the neighbouring states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Scholars in each country have their own way of defining generations and the way to make distinction between generations. These definitions reflect the social and historical circumstances that gave rise to generational identities. There are different bases for these identities, and collective memory is among them. I focus on generational studies that highlight biographical narratives along with historical events and their place in national frameworks of remembrance. I then ask how different researchers use the notion of generations in their studies. This paper discusses the extent to which changes, ruptures and consolidations in peoples’ stories depend on generational factors. At the same time, it questions whether the definition of a generation reflects a society’s remembrance framework. The interdependence of those frameworks and generational categories is clearest in cases such as the remembrance of social traumas, dictatorships and the Holocaust. In the Baltic context, we may look for common narratives around the Soviet legacy and its role in moulding particular generations. There are still many disputed memories and unrecognised stories. Are there similarly «canonical» and «silent» generations in our countries? I draw key insights from life history research and memory studies in order to shed light on the generations and the transfer of their narratives.

Nov 12, 2020 — Nov 13, 2020
Rīga (Latvija)
Edmunds Šūpulis

sociologs, LU Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūta pētnieks.