Cultural Trauma and Memory of the Expelled Peoples in Europe
Center for European Studies Lund University Lund, Sweden
The aim of the paper is to discuss to what extent the theory of cultural trauma as presented by Jeffrey Alexander et al in the book "Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity" (2004) could be fruitful in analysing how the present-day populations and governments of various European countries deal with the memory the ethnic groups that had been expelled from these countries in connection to military conflicts during the 20th century. The paper proposed consists of two parts. The first part is a short presentation of a research project on collective memories of Europe´s expelled peoples planned by a research group at Lund University, project looking among others at the memory of Germans expelled from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Northern Romania (now Ukraine) and the Republic of Moldova. In the second part the main research questions of the project are discussed in light of theory of cultural trauma. A special focus is put on the question if and to what extent the construction of trauma can be helpful in the process of reconciliation between nations and peoples, a claim made by Alexander.