Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Politics of Conservation: #ДАНСing and Romancing the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia by Maria Agova

This is the abstract of a dissertation submitted in partial fullfilment of the requirements for the degree of MA in Principles of Conservation, Institute of Archaeology, University College London 2013. 
This paper draws a parallel between the physical and political remnants of the communist regime in
Bulgaria and explores the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia as a temporal and spatial reflection of the relationship between Bulgaria, the Russian Empire, Soviet Union and, now, the Russian Federation, with a specific focus on the #ДАНСwithme anti-government demonstrations currently taking place in the country (14 June 2013 - present [18 November]). The monument is considered as a point of resistance where competing discourses – that of the authorities responsible for building and maintaining this relationship, and that of marginalised groups that seek to challenge and destroy it – clash, offering the possibility of change. By investigating the monument’s multiple, often conflicting meanings and uses throughout history within the framework of counter-memory and counter-monumentality, it highlights its dissonant nature and offers the basis for a discussion of the applicability of current heritage conservation principles.

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