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Deconstructing commemorative narratives: the anniversaries of the fall of the Berlin Wall

Viol, Maren; Anastasiadou, Constantia; Todd, Louise; Theodoraki, Eleni


Maren Viol

Eleni Theodoraki


Historically, researchers have studied commemorative events primarily for their political role in the (re)construction of contested national collective memories and identities, but globalisation, social justice movements, multiculturalism and regionalism forces are further transforming commemorative practices in the 21st century. This study adopts the semiotic paradigm to deconstruct commemorative narratives communicated during major anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In doing so, this paper evidences how interwoven signs in these commemorative events construct multi-layered narratives of transnational collective memory and identity based on shared values that transcend the political boundaries of the nation. The study further showcases how shifting political contexts influence commemorative narratives, whilst at the same time commemorative events may increasingly be designed to appeal to a broader, global audience as leisure phenomena of transnational significance.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 11, 2023
Online Publication Date May 17, 2023
Publication Date 2024
Deposit Date May 19, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 18, 2024
Journal Leisure Studies
Print ISSN 0261-4367
Electronic ISSN 1466-4496
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 1
Pages 153-170
Keywords Commemorative events, commemorative narratives, memory, identity, semiotics, Berlin wall
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