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TO DESTROY OR TO PRESERVE? MONUMENTS, LAW AND DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE

Project description

Examining how and why monuments have been preserved or destroyed in Europe

History has shown that when the past is contested, monuments are the first to be destroyed. Over the centuries, totalitarian regimes removed the monuments they did not agree with. The EU-funded MELoDYE project will use monuments as a lens through which to analyse current memory conflicts and wars in Europe; moreover, it will challenge the existing concept of public commemoration and European memory policies and elaborate a set of constitutional principles – mnemoconstitutionalism – with regard to monuments. This project constitutes the first attempt to think about monuments and their controversies in the context of democracy and the rule of law.

Objective

TO DESTROY OR TO PRESERVE? MONUMENTS, LAW AND DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE (MELoDYE)
When the past is contested, the monuments are the first to be destroyed. Over centuries, the totalitarian regimes removed the monuments they did not agree with. Should the democracies then follow this path?
MELoDYE is original in its approach, noble and ambitious in its goal: (i) it uses monuments as a lens to analyze current memory conflicts and wars in Europe; (ii) it challenges the existing concept of public commemoration and European memory policies; (iii) it elaborates a set of constitutional principles – mnemoconstitutionalism – with regard to monuments. T
MELoDYE is the first attempt to think about monuments and their controversies in the context of democracy and the rule of law to answer the questions:
•How should the commemorative symbols be constructed, maintained, or revised to ensure free speech and European solidarity?
•What should be the legal standards for memory policies and public commemorative practices in a democracy?
To tackle these questions MELoDYE, first, maps the controversies around the monuments and provides a taxonomy of the main European memory conflicts and memory wars. It examines methods of national memory policies and commemorative practices to figure out how the states chose historical narratives and heroes to be honored with the erection of a monument. Then, it considers legislation and administrative practices related to the monuments. It scrutinizes the actors which make decisions on monuments as well as the legal and administrative procedures behind these decisions. Finally, MELoDYE examines the ways in which memory policies related to monuments may be revised to meet demands of a democratic society. It criticizes politization and populist use of history. In the last step, the project elaborates a set of democratic principles – mnemoconstitutionalism – to guide monument-related decisions to ensure democracy, the rule of law and historical reconciliation.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT GENT
Net EU contribution
€ 178 320,00
Address
SINT PIETERSNIEUWSTRAAT 25
9000 Gent
Belgium

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Region
Vlaams Gewest Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen Arr. Gent
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 178 320,00