The memory of the Holocaust as a point of state ontological (in)security : A comparative discursive analysis of the United Kingdom and Poland

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Hugo Valentin-centrum

Author: Joshua Bennett; [2020]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: This thesis utilises the context of European Holocaust memory to test differences within the existing literature of the theory of ‘ontological security’. The differences centre on questions of identity preservation in the face of threats to a states ‘sense of self’. The paper builds a connection between theories within the field of collective memory and ontological security (a sub-field known as ‘mnemonic security’) and applies these to two case studies within the European context: the UK and Poland. These cases were chosen based on disparity of experience of the Holocaust within the European context in order to determine if these disparities may explain any potential variation in mnemonic security strategies. This is achieved with use of discourse analysis of state leader and representatives speeches (and other relevant discourse) given at Holocaust remembrance events in order to classify strategies in reference to the theoretical differences within the ontological security framework. It finds that differences in forms of memory exist, but their theoretical explanations within the framework are similar despite their disparities of experience. The thesis attempts to fill a gap of empirical evidence in regards to these arguments and in regards to discourse analysis of leader’s speeches and statements at said Holocaust remembrance events.

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