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Collective Memory in International Relations$
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Kathrin Bachleitner

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780192895363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192895363.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 September 2021

Memory as National Values

Memory as National Values

(p.120) 5 Memory as National Values
Collective Memory in International Relations

Kathrin Bachleitner

Oxford University Press

This chapter places collective memory at the source of a country’s values. In that regard, it enquires into the nature of normative obligations arising from memory. Based on moral-philosophical considerations, it finds normativity in the ‘processes surrounding memory’ described in the temporal security concept. Over time, the relationship between collective memory, identity, and behaviour generates a ‘duty to act’ for countries in the sense of ‘ought’. This last and most diffuse impact of collective memory unfolds and persists into the long run. Through it, collective memory, entirely outside the realm of conscious choice, channels behaviour towards onegood course of action. To illustrate this, the empirical study picks up the case countries, Germany and Austria, at a late point in time. In 2015, large numbers of refugees arrived at their borders during what became known as the ‘European refugee crisis’. In this ‘critical situation’, both countries were required to react and thus position themselves vis-à-vis the highly normative issue of asylum. With the help of a content analysis of official speeches, the case study demonstrates how German and Austrian politicians came to identify different versions of what a good response entails based on their country’s diverse collective memories.

Keywords:   collective memory, normative IR theory, national values, moral obligations and identity, source of normativity in IR, refugee crisis, Balkan route, asylum policies, Austria, Germany

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