BETWEEN REMEMBERING AND FORGETTING - PROCESSES OF CHANGING TOPICALITY OF POLISH HERITAGE IN CONTEMPORARY LITHUANIA

Anna Ewa Pilarczyk-Palaitis

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/TIS.2021.001

Abstract


The last century of Lithuanian history and the resulting dynamics of political and demographic change have radically transformed the role, meaning and forms of interpretation of Polish heritage in Lithuania. The purpose of the article is to observe the main directions of changes taking place within the cultural memory of Poles living in Lithuania - the largest national minority group in Lithuania. The report presents the processes of changing topicality of Polish heritage in Lithuania in three main areas of active cultural memory: history, art and religion. The first area is represented by objects related to Józef Piłsudski, the second one by the Pohulanka Theatre (now the Russian Drama Theatre) in Vilnius and objects related to Adam Mickiewicz, and the third one by objects related to the cult of Divine Mercy.

The article analyses official communication of these memory objects (published by the objects’ owners or official managers) as well as memory practices and rituals carried out in these objects and described on social media and in news articles published in Lithuania in 2017-2019. Observing various types of storage media, in this case, some selected objects of cultural heritage and rituals and texts accompanying them, it is possible to notice processes of variability, exchange, erasing, redefining memory and hence the dynamics of changes in the Polish collective identity in modern Lithuania.

The analysis of the formal ritualization and communication of these objects has enabled noticing several interesting trends, above all an occurrence of the phenomenon of polylogue of narratives and the process of universalization of Polish heritage in Lithuania and thus Lithuanian and Polish collective memory approaching each other.

The following analysis is valuable as a starting point for reflection on the transformation of the ethnic identity of Poles in Lithuania. The article is one of the first attempts to show the processes of Lithuanian Poles identity transformations through observations of their collective memory dimension. The article presents the main trends and indicates the further potential research directions.

Keywords


collective memory; culture memory; transformations of memory; Polish minority in Lithuania; Polish heritage; heritage communication; cultural heritage; multicultural heritage

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References


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