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POLITICIZING MEMORY

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This paper argues that hegemonic memorial ceremonies are typically based on the practice and discourse of de-politicization of the ‘Israeli condition’. Three mechanisms serve such de-politicization: rendering death meaningful; idealizing the fallen and focusing on their transcendental as opposed to their corporeal side and the sanctification of time. Ceremonies featuring these mechanisms are paradigmatic events that perpetuate the hegemonic model of bereavement in Israel. Ceremonies deviating from these practices function as an opposition to static collective memory by acting as extra-paradigmatic sites of memory (Lieux de mémoire). This paper analyzes the Hallal (Hebrew for both ‘fallen’ and ‘void’) ceremony (Tzavta Theatre, Tel Aviv, 2009), that serves as an ‘alternative’ Remembrance Day ceremony. Drawing on the ethnography of ceremonies, we claim that this ceremony is an extra-paradigmatic event on account of its subversion of the de-politicizing mechanisms.
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Keywords: bereavement; ceremony; memory; performance; politicization; ritual

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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