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Title: Silesian identity : the interplay of memory, history, and borders
Author: Musalkova, Johana
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6395
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This dissertation provides an ethnographic account of contemporary Opavian Silesian identity (or identities) and its negotiations. In particular, it is concerned with the question of how Silesian identity is being negotiated by various social actors in and between the town of Opava and the neighbouring area of Hlučín, which together comprise the tourist region of Opavian Silesia. In focusing on Opava and the Hlučín area, inhabited by Opavians and Hlučíns respectively, I not only explore the internal constitution of a group and analyse its narrative accounts, but also pay special attention to the social organisation of the differences between these two groups. The aim of this project is not to address the question of whether Silesian identity exists objectively, which is taken for granted by the majority of scholars working on Silesian identity do, but rather to explore how various social actors negotiate and utilise the concept, including these scholars themselves. I start from the premise that identities are relational, situational, and instrumental, and throughout the dissertation I focus on the groups' external and internal contestations, exploring the ways in which various social actors try to overcome these differences. The present negotiations over Silesian identity have proved to be problematic in all their temporalities, as they relate to issues in the past, the present and possibly the future. I therefore investigate how certain versions of the past are being reconstructed and negotiated in the present, how these versions inform and reflect on the present, and the possible implications of this for the future. I consider competing representations of Silesian-ness and competing reconstructions of the past that are related to it through the theoretical framework of 'dominant v. demotic discourses' and 'difficult heritage', focusing on commemoration practices, tourism, the politics of display, and hierarchies of knowledge.
Supervisor: Makovicky, Nicolette ; Parkin, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Silesian Identity ; Central Europe ; Prussian Heritage ; Hlucin Area