CORDIS - EU research results

Illusions of eternity: the Constitution as a lieu de mémoire and the problem of collective remembrance in the WesteRn Balkans

Project description

Studying the Constitution as a ‘lieu de mémoire’

Contemporary Constitutions may be tools for bringing the past into the present. Memories and identity are also vital to the reconciliation and democratisation processes in culturally heterogeneous societies. In this context, the EU-funded We-R project will focus on the relationship between collective memory and national identity to study the Constitution as a ‘lieu de mémoire’. This concept refers to certain places, objects or events that can have special significance as related to how they are remembered. The project will integrate constitutional law memory and nationalism studies and specifically investigate the example of the Western Balkans.


We-R focuses on the important relationship between collective memory and national identity by introducing a ground-braking perspective: the study of the Constitution as a lieu de mémoire. We-R’s aims are to understand how and to what extent contemporary Constitutions may be used as tools for bringing the past in the present, and analyze the ways in which configurations of memory and identity through the Basic Law of the Land can obstruct reconciliation and democratization processes in culturally heterogeneous societies. In addressing this topic, the researcher will use the Western Balkans (including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo) as case studies and an innovative interdisciplinary perspective which will integrate in comparative constitutional law memory studies and nationalism studies, as well as a multi method approach that combines comparative analysis with critical political discourse analysis and social media research. The proposed mobility plan will allow the researcher’s training at CU to reinforce her knowledge in Balkan studies and acquire new methodological skills, and the residence at Eurac to elaborate the first existing “Practical Guidelines of Democratic Memory Construction” (DeMeCon). Given the importance of its objectives We-R is potentially entitled to become a reference model for other comparable case studies. The action will let the researcher benefit from interactions with an international network of excellence composed of scholars in various fields, international and national policy-makers and watchdog organizations. We-R comes appropriately timed, in a moment in which nationalism and historical revisionism are growing in Europe and beyond and are threating the future of the EU project.


Net EU contribution
€ 251 002,56
39100 Bolzano

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Nord-Est Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen Bolzano-Bozen
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 251 002,56

Partners (1)