When a Historical Analogy Fails: Current Political Events and Collective Memory Contestation in the News
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AbstractCollective memory studies have emphasized how people can utilize important historical events as analogies to make sense of current happenings. This article argues that the invocation of historical analogies may, under certain circumstances, become an occasion for people to negotiate and contest the significance of the historical events. Focusing on Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement in 2014, this article analyzes how references to the 1989 Tiananmen Incident emerged in the news as a dominant historical analogy when the movement began, foregrounding the possibility of state violence. But when state violence did not materialize, the authorities, young protesters, and radical activists started to contest the relevance of Tiananmen. The analogy was largely abandoned by the movement’s end. The analysis illustrates the recursive character of the relationship between past and present events: after the past is invoked to aid interpretations of the present, present developments may urge people to reevaluate the past.
All Author(s) ListLee F., Chan J., Leung D.
Journal nameMemory Studies
Year2019
Month4
Volume Number12
Issue Number2
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Pages130 - 145
ISSN1750-6980
eISSN1750-6999
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Keywordshistorical analogy, generational differences, memory contestation, media discourses, social movements

Last updated on 2020-15-01 at 00:09