This article invites the view that the Europeanization of an antitotalitarian “collective memory” of communism reveals the emergence of a field of anticommunism. This transnational field is inextricably tied to the proliferation of state-sponsored and anticommunist memory institutes across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), but cannot be treated as epiphenomenal to their propagation. The diffusion of bodies tasked with establishing the “true” history of communism reflects, first and foremost, a shift in the region’s approach to its past, one driven by the right’s frustration over an allegedly pervasive influence of former communist cliques. Memory institutes spread as the CEE right progressively perceives their emphasis on research and public education as a safer alternative to botched lustration processes. However, the field of anticommunism extends beyond diffusion by seeking to leverage the European Union institutional apparatus to generate previously unavailable forms of symbolic capital for anticommunist narratives. This results in an entirely different challenge, which requires reconciling of disparate ideological and national interests. In this article, I illustrate some of these nationally diverse, but internationally converging, trajectories of communist extrication from the vantage point of its main exponents: the anticommunist memory entrepreneurs, who are invariably found at the helm of memory institutes. Inhabiting the space around the political, historiographic, and Eurocratic fields, anticommunist entrepreneurs weave a complex web of alliances that ultimately help produce an autonomous field of anticommunism.

, , , , ,,
Theory and Society
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Dujisin, Z. (Zoltan). (2020). A history of post-communist remembrance: from memory politics to the emergence of a field of anticommunism. Theory and Society. doi:10.1007/s11186-020-09401-5