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Exploring the link between historical memory and foreign policy: an introduction

Abstract

This article introduces the special issue ‘Exploring the Link between Historical Memory and Foreign Policy’. It sets the scene for the individual case studies by illustrating how memory and foreign policy are linked in a complex and reciprocal way. Several mechanisms of (ab)using historical memory in foreign policy discourses are identified, including the application of historical analogies, the construction of historical narratives, the creation of memory sites, the marginalisation and forgetting of the past and the securitisation of historical memory. The contributions to the special issue are introduced according to this conceptual frame. The article highlights how these mechanisms are deployed in different national and political contexts, as well as how a state’s politics of memory influences its foreign policy and relations with other states.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for reviewing the articles for the special issue and the journal editors for their work. Lina Klymenko would also like to thank the students in her course on the uses of the past at Tampere University, Finland. Intense discussions in class have encouraged her to explore this topic further.

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Correspondence to Lina Klymenko.

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Klymenko, L., Siddi, M. Exploring the link between historical memory and foreign policy: an introduction. Int Polit 57, 945–953 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41311-020-00269-x

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Keywords

  • Historical memory
  • Foreign policy
  • Narratives
  • Politics of memory
  • Securitisation