9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN03 Biographical Perspectives on European Societies

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 The impact of the second world war on memory and generations Building II, C2.02

Memories Continued and Interrupted: Generations and Social Memory in Latvia

Biographical research in Latvia clearly shows the importance and relevance of concept ?cohort generation? (Mannheim 1952, Riley 1988, Miller 2000). Research by National Oral History project shows the place of historical events in individual biographies and in social memory of particular cohort generations in Latvia.
The history of last 100 years in Latvia is marked by several turning points (foundation of independent sate, Soviet and Nazi occupations, renewal of independence, joining of NATO and EU). These events opened as well as limited different opportunities of individual life courses, as well as are remembered differently by different cohort generations. Memories of one generation not always is successfully transmitted to and accepted by next generations ? life story studies in Latvia shows, that not only Holocaust studies brings questions of transmission of memories to the forefront.
In the paper will be discussed the case of cohort generation, born in 1920s and 1930s in Latvia, who experienced the loss and the renewal of independent Latvia, the 2WW and the split of Latvians in homeland Latvians, living in LSSR, and exiled Latvians, living in the West. We can speak about two different groups with different social memories within one cohort generation. The focus of analysis will be on the transmission of memories by both groups, but differently due to different historical/political contexts. The discussion will be focused on strategies of transmission of memories and difficulties in this process (due to political context as well as due to new generations? fresh contact (Manheim, 1952) with memory heritage of cohort generation, born in 1920s and 1930s), experienced by both groups of cohort generation before and after 1990s. Minor theme, but important within context of ESA conference issue, is the notion of European identity, developed in memories by both groups of explored cohort generation.