Framing, Claiming and Blaming: The Social Construction of Collective Memory and Victimhood in Contemporary North American Holocaust Narratives

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Swartz, Tamar
Collective Memory , Victimology , North America , Holocaust , Narratives , Sociology
North American Holocaust narratives have undergone a number of temporal phases in collective representation, shifting from an initial widespread silence, to the current state of mass Americanization. The processes of how the Holocaust is recast, retold and socially reconstructed over time are examined in this essay. While many disciplines have attempted to study the Holocaust from a variety of theoretical perspectives, this essay is located at the intersection of two divergent areas of study. The combined studies of collective memory and victimology are applied to contemporary Holocaust narratives, in order to show how certain narratives gain primacy over others. Also illustrated is the manner in which particular groups lay claim to these narratives. Finally, conclusions relating to the purposes served by the domination of Holocaust narratives within the North American cultural context are highlighted, and future work is described.
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