Project

Dealing with the memories of terrorism: Understanding the social meanings of spontaneous memorials

Goal: Whilst the interest of memory scholars in political violence and more specifically in terrorism is not novel, after the terrorist attacks in Paris (2015) and Brussels (2016) there appears to be a certain urgency to reflect upon these nascent memories in collective, European immaginarium. This project traces the development of a “bottom-up” memorialization process in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks questioning how these acts of terrorism will settle in our collective memory.

Methods: Ethnography, Community-Based Participatory Research, Interviewing, Visual Content Analysis

Date: 22 March 2016

Updates
0 new
14
Recommendations
0 new
0
Followers
0 new
11
Reads
1 new
232

Project log

Ana Milosevic
added a research item
This article questions the success of official memorials in overcoming wounds caused by social traumas, such are terrorist attacks.
Ana Milosevic
added an update
About the research
When a terrorist attack happens, citizens gather to commemorate and remember the victims. Often permanent memorials are created to commemorate the tragic event and its victims. But who gets to decide whether such a monument should be created and how it should look like? Ana Milosevic seeks to understand societal responses to traumatic events of our times. 
Science Figured Out:
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
22 March 2018 - Official commemorations
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
A wide range of memorial initiatives have been put in place to remember the victims of the Brussels attacks.
This is a picture of memorial plaque that honors the victims of the terrorist attacks of Tuesday 22 March 2016 at the airport - where the first bombs exploded.
The plaque is situated in close proximity of the explosion site, on external wall ( departures).
The message is written in Dutch, French and English language.
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
Just published an article on how societies deal with the impact of terrorist attacks through memorialisation.
In this special issue, we bring together various cases from both Europe and US.
 
Ana Milosevic
added a research item
This research article traces the process of transition from spontaneous to 'official' memorialisation of the 2016 Brussels terrorist attack by questioning which factors trigger the heritagization process of spontaneous memorials and their contents. With a view to critically assess the significance of heritage values in relation to terrorism, this article scrutinises how these values are grasped, narrated and articulated by the local authorities, government and archival institutions in the preservation, conservation and heritagization of spontaneous memorials. There is an emphasis on the two facets of heritagization: how meanings attached to a memorial and its objects are created and expressed by the community of bereavement, and how the transformation of places, practices, objects into diverse forms of 'heritage' evolves. This article brings a new perspective on the heritagization of spontaneous memorials, seen as important in determining how a traumatic event such is a terrorist attack will settle in the collective memory on the long term, by becoming historicized.
Ana Milosevic
added an update
We all know how Belgian society has commemorated the attacks in Brussels both in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy (2016), but also one year after (2017) - when a memorial was placed at the Schuman square.
Official memorial, created for the first anniversary, has raised few eyebrows. Some of the survivors and victims' associations have many objections to its aesthetics, symbolism and also to its current location. That is why I am taking regular field trips to the memorial to observe and interview the visitors and people passing by. I am trying to understand what meanings and purposes they assign to this sculpture.
Some of the findings will be presented in an upcoming article on heritagization of spontaneous memorials (autumn), but what strikes me the most about it is that memorial is used to sit on, practice stretching exercises and for climbing after few beers.
Does this mean that the monument has failed to become a place of memory? And if so, why?
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
Presenting my research " Bottom-up memorialization of the 2016 Brussels attacks " on the nexus between memory and terrorism at the conference:
LA MÉMORIALISATION DES ATTENTATS
Vendredi 2 juin 2017
10h30 – 17h Sciences Po, salle du Conseil 13 rue de l’Université 75007 Paris
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
Just Published (2017): Remembering the present: Dealing with the memories of terrorism in Europe, Journal of terrorism research 8(2): 44-61. (open access)
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
02 May 2017: Meeting in Paris with a group of French researchers working on the project: REAT « La Réaction sociale aux attentats : sociographie, archives et mémoire. » It was an excellent opportunity to share my findings on memorialization of the Brussels attacks with colleagues working on collective memories and social meanings of the Paris attacks and Charlie Hebdo attacks.
To learn more about our project: https://reat.hypotheses.org/le-projet-reat
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
Ana Milosevic
added a research item
Whilst the interest of memory scholars in political violence and more specifically in terrorism is not novel, there appears to be a certain urgency to reflect upon memories of terrorist violence in collective, European immaginarium. By questioning how to deal with these memories and how the process of remembrance of the victims of terrorism will pave its way into a European memory culture, this article analyses spontaneous memorialization of the victims of terrorist attacks in Brussels (2016).
Ana Milosevic
added an update
Euractiv shares my pictures in an article about the monument for the victims in Brussels:
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
In attendance of the first anniversary of the Brussels attacks, the Government has commissioned a monument to commemorate these tragic events.
These are the first pictures of the monument, taken on 15 March 2017 which illustrate how a monument is "born" in a public space.
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
Lecture at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) : "Spontaneous memorials - a new commemorative genre?"
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
December 2016: Visit to spontaneous memorials in Paris ( Place de la Republique, Bataclan, Charlie Hebdo offices). Interviewing tourists who were visiting the Bataclan or taking an intentional detour to take a selfie in front of the theater.
 
Ana Milosevic
added an update
Currently conducting an ethnographic study on first memorial created to honor the victims of #Parisattacks and #Brusselsattacks, in Molenbeek, Belgium. I am looking how local population perceives this temporary monument.
 
Ana Milosevic
added 3 project references
Ana Milosevic
added a project goal
Whilst the interest of memory scholars in political violence and more specifically in terrorism is not novel, after the terrorist attacks in Paris (2015) and Brussels (2016) there appears to be a certain urgency to reflect upon these nascent memories in collective, European immaginarium. This project traces the development of a “bottom-up” memorialization process in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks questioning how these acts of terrorism will settle in our collective memory.