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Entitlement and the Shaping of First World War Commemorative Histories

Andrews, Maggie (2018) Entitlement and the Shaping of First World War Commemorative Histories. Cultural Trends, 27 (2). pp. 63-67. ISSN 1469-3690

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The four years of commemorative outpouring and activities in response to the Centenary
of the First World War have led to the production of a multiplicity of amateur and professional,
academic, media and community histories of the conflict. These can be seen
as exciting examples of what Raphael Samuel (2012) once optimistically described as
history made by a thousand hands, which can democratize the past. However, all histories
are framed by the cultural milieu in which they are produced and the centenary of the first
industrialized conflict, which cost the lives of millions across the world1 is taking place in
Britain, a fractured country, still reeling from the aftermath of the 2007–2008 financial
crisis, which heralded in austerity politics and a restructuring of welfare provision. The centenary
has coincided with the rise of UKIP and 2016’s divisive referendum about Britain’s
membership of the EU. The commemoration of a conflict, which has a significant place in
British national narratives, is taking place against a backdrop of hotly contested debates
about who exactly is entitled to see themselves as part of the nation, and who is entitled
to support from the national purse if they are in crisis. This has an inevitable, though
perhaps, unintentional consequence on the selectivity and the silences in the histories
of the First World War that have emerged. My own recent work with heritage organizations
and community groups as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
funded Voices of War and Peace World War One Engagement Centre,
2 suggests that in
the present political climate, despite the best intentions and determined efforts of
many cultural agents, some hands were mu

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: commemoration, remembrance, cultural studies, communication, visual arts and performing arts
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor: Prof. Pub Router
Depositing User: Maggie Andrews
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2018 12:32
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:22

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