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National Celebrations from an Outsider’s Perspective. May 17th in Bergen as an Expression of Social Memory


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Škrbić Alempijević, Nevena. (2008). National Celebrations from an Outsider’s Perspective. May 17th in Bergen as an Expression of Social Memory. Tidsskrift for kulturforskning, 7(2). pp. 41-56. ISSN 1502-7473

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The focus of this paper is the social memory dimension of May 17th, the Norwegian Constitution Day, as organized and acted out in Bergen in 2005. The celebrations are approached through Pierre Nora's concept of "realms of memory". The author places emphasis on the participants' sensory and bodily experience. She also discusses the way her outsider's gaze into May 17th reflects the way she experienced national holidays in Croatia. The event is perceived from two different perspectives: by following in the foot-steps of the main orgabizers, the May 17th Committee members, and by experiencing the day in the company of members of a family living in Bergen. In that way, the author obtained some insight into the official discourse about May 17th, as well as into one private interpretation of the occasion. For these informants, rememberance and the national component played a significant part of their celebrations. The author concludes that not only motifs relating to 1814, the year of the drafting of the new constitution at Eidsvoll, were noticeable at the celebrations. Motifs evoking the Viking era and WW2 were also present. This is why the author concludes that it is the glorious past that societies remember during contemporary May 17th celebrations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: May 17th, national celebrations, social memory, outsider’s perspective
Subjects: Ethnology and cultural anthropology
Departments: Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 09:19
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2014 09:19

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