On agonistic memory

Anna Cento Bull, Hans Lauge Hansen

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Building on Mouffe’s critique of cosmopolitanism, this article argues that a cosmopolitan mode of remembering, far from having superseded the antagonistic mode associated with ‘first modernity’ in the European context, has proved unable to prevent the rise of, and is being increasingly challenged by, new antagonistic collective memories constructed by populist neo-nationalist movements. This article outlines the main defining characteristics of a third ‘agonistic’ mode of remembering, which is both reflexive and dialogic, yet also relies upon politicized representations of past conflicts, acknowledging civic and political passions as well as individual and collective agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-404
Number of pages15
JournalMemory Studies
Issue number4
Early online date27 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • agonism, antagonism, cosmopolitanism, modes of remembering, collective memory


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