Political monuments in Lithuania: Artistic aesthetics and national identity

Victorija Rimaitė

Punctum, 5(2): 72-90, 2019
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2019.0024

Abstract

Monuments can be treated as an empirical entry point into the symbolism of national politics and the formation of national identity. Following the elitist perspective on monuments by Forest and Johnson (2002), Begic and Mraovic (2014) and Atkinson and Cosgrove (1998), different political elites and regimes should cause change in monuments that, in turn, lead to change in the construction of national identity. The aesthetic analysis of monuments in Lithuania reveals the contrary: that there are some constant aesthetic characteristics, i.e. visual canons that can be observed in the monuments built in different political regimes and elites. In this context, the main task of this article is to answer how we can account for both the continuities and the changes in monuments. To do so, an analysis of monuments in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, was conducted using the discourse analysis of documents representing the analyzed monuments together with the semiotic analysis looking the discursive level of monuments and especially their figurative and thematic aspects.

KEYWORDS: National Politics, National Identity, Soviet and Post-Soviet Monuments, Discursive Analysis, Lithuania
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