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Criminalizing Communism: Transnational Mnemopolitics in Europe

International Political Sociology

Published online on


The Eastern enlargement of the European Union has intensified calls for the reconstruction of a common European remembrance of the continent's multiple totalitarian legacies. Various political initiatives to condemn, along with counter‐attempts to re‐legitimize, the legacy of communism have emerged at the pan‐European level. Each aspires to leave an imprint on the symbolic moral order and the legal regime of the broader European community. This article builds a conceptual framework for understanding the contestation of political and juridical regulation of the transnational remembrance of totalitarian communist regimes in Europe. Critically engaging the concept of cosmopolitanization of memory, it is argued that mnemonic identity in Europe is being transformed via new claims on “European memory.” These claims are being made by various East European actors seeking recognition of the region's particular historical legacies as part of the pan‐European normative verdict on twentieth‐century totalitarianisms.