56 after ‘89: Re-Commemorating Hungarian History after the Fall of Communism

Quentin Stevens, Shanti Sumartojo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


Governments and civic groups erect public memorials in national capitals to
record and legitimize selected events and people, so as to define collective
history. Budapest provides a rich case study of how changing political regimes
and their opponents also alter, re-interpret and remove memorials in their
attempts to control national narratives and express and consolidate political
authority. This paper uses archival research, interviews with memorial decisionmakers, and analysis of individual memorials to explore how various key themes
of Hungarian history have been articulated through Budapest’s commemorative
works, and how the expression of particular commemorative subjects has
been contested, modulated or repressed. Analysis explores which approaches
to commemoration have remained constant throughout Hungary’s several
regime changes, and what broad shifts have occurred in memorial themes,
forms and locations. An examination of major memorials erected, removed
and replaced in Budapest up until the 1989 collapse of Communism provides
a context for understanding the subsequent proliferation of memorials to the
1956 Anti-Communist Uprising and the newly-completed reconfiguration of the
key national space, Kossuth Square. The paper identifies four specific dynamics
in the reframing of Budapest’s memorial landscape since 1989 for current
consumption: decontextualization, iconoclasm, liberalization, and avoidance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand: 31, Translation
EditorsChristoph Schnoor
Place of PublicationAuckland, New Zealand
PublisherSociety of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781927214121
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventSociety of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference 2014: Translation - Auckland , New Zealand
Duration: 2 Jul 20145 Jul 2014
Conference number: 31st


ConferenceSociety of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) Annual Conference 2014
Abbreviated titleSAHANZ 2014
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address

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