On the issue of construction of social memory: anthropology of the Perm-36 museum 

Riazanova S.V.





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The study does not imply either documentation of the repressions, or working in the field of oral history. The article provides a vision of how the key figures in the history of the museum form its history and image. The source base includes a series of expert interviews with the founders and administrators of the museum at various stages of its existence, and a number of concepts for the arrangement of Perm-36 during various years, as well as Internet and media publications, allowing to verify the obtained data. The text attempts to reconstruct the history of the formation and functioning of the Perm-36 museum, highlighting the periods of its activity associated with a change in leadership and the appointment of a number of new employees in its management and research structures. In the process of the analysis, the author compares various perspectives on what is the purpose of the museum located at the site of the camp, and what is the place of the museum in the socio-political reality. The analysis is based on the identification of groups of statements related to various aspects of creation and functioning of the Perm-36 memorial complex. The museum is considered as a place of application of multidirectional efforts of various actors, which provokes significant changes in approaches to its arrangement and to its functions in the public space. The concept of demiurge is introduced to designate a social agent who constructs the space of historical and social memory based on its own ideas and vision. Public figures, researchers and museum employees, who play a significant role in determining the structure of museum collections, ways of their presentation and types of social activities, are seen as the key factor that shapes the image of the museum in the region, nationally, and internationally. The material base in this situation appears secondary to the methods of its interpretation, principles of selecting items, and the use of supplementary means for their exhibiting. Research interests, social agenda and personal ambitions of the main actors become determinant for the formation of the museum chronotope.

Keywords: authorized discourse of cultural heritage, politics of memory, commemoration, museum anthropology.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 27.02.2023

Article is published: 15.06.2023


Riazanova S.V., Perm Federal Research Center of Ural Branch of RAS, Lenina st., 13a, Perm, 614990, Russian Federation, Perm State Agro-Technological University, Petropavlovskaya st., 23, Perm, 614990, Russian Federation, E-mail: svet-ryazanova@yandex.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5387-9387