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Title: Moving Moments: Uses of European Pasts in Heritage and Political Discourse
Authors: Farrell-Banks, David
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: References to particular historical moments can be a powerful tool of persuasion in political discourse. This project interrogates the uses of two historical moments in heritage sites and political discourse: the 1215 first writing of Magna Carta and the 1683 breaking of the Siege of Vienna. The thesis explores how Magna Carta is used as a means of asserting British (or, more precisely, English) national identity against a European other, particularly in the context of the Brexit referendum. The breaking of the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683, meanwhile, is used by right-wing populist and extremist European groups to assert a notional ‘European’ identity against a migrant and Muslim other. I follow the use of these moments across heritage sites, political discourse in legacy media, and through their use on Twitter. In doing so, I focus on constructions of British, Western and European shared identity and history in right-wing populist and extremist discourse. The thesis proposes the concept of the moving moment. This views historical moments as constantly in movement, temporally and spatially. In political discourse, particular actors ‘pull’ these moments into the present, giving them new relevance for their political purposes. These historical moments are also viewed as having the power to move us emotionally. This emotional movement is key to the successful use of these pasts by political groups. Through developing an understanding of how right-wing groups use historical moments to foster a politics of division, this thesis seeks to contribute to decision-making among other political activists and heritage organisations. It argues that heritage sites and museums need to acknowledge, if not interact with, the divisive uses of the pasts in question. In doing so, such sites can better engage actively in a politics of inclusion.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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Farrell-Banks, David Stuart, Final Submission.pdfThesis2.48 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
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