9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS07 Memory, Culture and Public Discourse

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Physical Sites of Memory Building I, 1E6

Memory and landscape - the unpleasant past in the local context

The paper explains relations between memory and landscape on the example of polish mountainous village - Lutowiska. Collective memories of different groups living there and collective memories about different groups which lived there and their connections with landscape will be described.
The idea of landscape and landscape itself is associated with relax and pleasure, spectacular views, aesthetic values. However outstanding view might be used to hide collective trauma. Only connection of landscape and memory allows us to look deeper into this what has happened in certain area. Human memories are immersed in the landscape, traces of the past are written in it - those connected with unpleasant past like guerrilla warfare, genocide and displacement too. In the landscape we may find some ideas of modernisation - total landscape as a social experiment causing giving back certain territory to the forces of nature, landscape of death as a place of genocide, landscape of borders and trauma as a place hiding collective responsibility.
Relations between memory and landscape will be explained using polish region Bieszczady. In this area during 10 years (1939 - 1951) all ethnics groups were killed or displaced (Bojkowie, emkowie, Ukrainians, Jews, Poles). Multicultural society of the region was destroyed. Highly populated region has become almost uninhabited. Coming back of the nature began - in 70. Bieszczadzki's National Park was created at huge part of this territory. The landscape has completely changed - from full of people into wild and desert.
Author conducted researches among and with inhabitants of Lutowiska's village. Participant observation, biographical interviews, photography analysis were used. Information about the picture of the place with unpleasant past was gathered from local people by engaging them into artistic activities.
Not only general reflections about connections of memory with the landscape but also connections of local people with the picture of the place will be shown in the paper. Detailed questions will be answered. How the memory about unpleasant past influences the way people see the place of their living? What new settlers know about the traumatic events which took place in their village and people who lived in the village before them?