9.7 Chapter Summary

Key Summary Points  

  1. Although memorials, living memorials, commemoration, remembrance, and monuments are interrelated concepts, it is important to understand the distinctions between them.
  2. Memorials can take a variety of forms: personal, official, grassroots, counter, living or some combination.
  3. Memorials serve a variety of purposes: honouring, commemorating, and remembering the dead; aiding in an understanding of significant human events; the construction of official and counter narratives; the creation of symbolic representations; and stimulating of dialogue. Through tying together the past and the present, they encourage viewers to critically engage with past events.
  4. The creation of monuments and memorials has steadily grown since the end of WWI, with the style and form changing from static structures, statues and edifices to more abstract designs. Rather than instructing audiences as to what to think, feel, and remember, contemporary memorials and monuments are designed to embrace ambiguity and resist closure, thereby encouraging viewers to actively engage in reflection and interpretation.

Additional Resources

Canada. (n.d.-a). Memorials in Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/defence/caf/militaryhistory/memorials-monuments-cemeteries/memorials-canada.html

Gurler, E. & Ozer, B. (August 20, 2013). The effects of public memorials on social memory and urban identity. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 82, 858-863. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.06.361 

Lewis, J. & Fraser, M. (December 1996). Patches of grief and rage: Visitor responses to the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Qualitative Sociology, 19(4), 433-451. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02393368

Manitoba. (n.d.). A brief history of war memorial design. https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/hrb/internal_reports/pdfs/war_memorials_brief_history.pdf

Popescu, D. & Schult, T. (2020). Performative Holocaust commemoration in the 21st century. Holocaust Studies, 26(2), 135-151.https://doi.org/10.1080/17504902.2019.1578452


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On Death and Dying (Original) Copyright © 2022 by Jacqueline Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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