[review] A. Etkind. Warped mourning: stories of the undead in the land of the unburied
Current cultures of collective memory are rather different from those of the first half of the twentieth century when they primarily reflected national memories; representations of those pasts served to unite nations and consolidate national identities. In national memories, difficult pasts used to be suppressed. It is only since the end of the 1990s that difficult pasts have become part of national memory repertoires. Stories of perpetrators and victims became universal tropes, coinciding with the development of a human rights regime and the cosmopolitanization of memories. Though the scope of these changes is considerable, they certainly do not occur everywhere. Some countries are still reluctant to address tragedies in their history. It does not mean that these events are completely forgotten; rather, it presents a complex situation where difficult pasts ‘haunt’ societies. Alexander Etkind's book is dedicated to such an ‘undead’ and ‘unburied’ past of Soviet terror that comes back in different forms.