Cover of Structures of Memory by Jennifer A. Jordan
Structures of Memory
Understanding Urban Change in Berlin and Beyond
Jennifer A. Jordan

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2006
304 pages.
from $26.95

Cloth ISBN: 9780804752763
Paper ISBN: 9780804752770

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In many different parts of the world people cordon off sites of great suffering or great heroism from routine use and employ these sites exclusively for purposes of remembrance. The author of this book turns to the landscape of contemporary Berlin in order to understand how some places are forgotten by all but eyewitnesses, whereas others become the sites of public ceremonies, museums, or commemorative monuments. The places examined mark the city’s Nazi past and are often rendered off limits to use for apartments, shops, or offices. However, only a portion of all “authentic” sites—places with direct connections to acts of resistance or persecution during the Nazi era—actually become designated as places of official collective memory. Others are simply reabsorbed into the quotidian landscape. Remembering leaves its marks on the skin of the city, and the goal of this book is to analyze and understand precisely how.

About the author

Jennifer A. Jordan is Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

"'Structures of memory' refers to the 'material projects' that memorialize either victims of the Nazis or heroes of the resistance to them. To show that it takes to establish such memorials, Jennifer A. Jordan examines both sites that have and have not been successfully memorialized. Their success, she demonstrates, depends on a consensus that they're not too large, too inconvenient, or too much in the way or more profitable uses."

German Studies Review

"[An] impressive scholarly accomplishment"

Canadian Journal of Sociology Online

"[Jordan's] book is an intelligent and welcome contribution to the sociological study of collective memory."

American Journal of Sociology

"This is an original and fascinating work that will be a welcome addition to the ever-growing conversation on the cultural functions of memorialization, official and vernacular memorial processes, and the relation between remembering and forgetting. Jordan reminds us, as well she should, that what does not gain a place in the landscape is as revealing as what does finally gain the prestige of a public site."

—Edward T. Linenthal, Indiana University