Working through a monumental break up : ideological transitions, ironic monumental disruptions, and public deliberation
MetadataShow full item record
At present the literature of counter-monument studies does not account for the complex interactions of irony and nostalgia in memorial spaces. The three case studies examined in this project show that nostalgia can produce critically engaging spaces of deliberation depending on how ironic commemoration intervenes in comic or tragic frames. In order to show that more rhetorical focus is possible, I have challenged the conceptualization of counter-monument studies through what I have termed the “ironic monumental disruption.” Monument studies must address how the idea of the counter-monument, in which the "counter" supposedly resides in the artifact itself, valorizes monolithic critiques and fails to recognize that contexts, interactions, and artifacts all shape the symbolism of the commemorative site. Alternatively, ironic monumental disruptions offer critical and deliberative opportunities in their interactions with visitors and provide more conceptual insight into transitional commemorative practices. The monuments reviewed in this project initially appeared to provide additional reinforcement for escapist, capitalist narratives, but my examination of them has revealed that allowing for (ironic) commemorative contradictions provides discursive openings for publics unknowingly silenced by a lack of public deliberation. Commemorative irony produces valuable insights into the current historical moment and the representational issues created by ideological transitions. The citizens of Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Hungary express varying levels of nostalgia about their communist past, which is why the commemorative sites within these countries create a valuable spectrum of ironic and nostalgic entanglements. Commemorative irony produces valuable insights into the current historical moment and the representational issues created by ideological transitions.