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Keywords:

  • discursive psychology;
  • collective memory;
  • socio-political events;
  • revolution;
  • political news interviews;
  • political accountability;
  • recent past

Abstract

This paper presents a discursive analysis of a political news interview as a site for the interactional organization of the public constitution of recent past. In a context of commemoration and finding out the truth about the past, the focus is on how the collective memory of socio-political events and political accountability is managed and what discursive practices representatives of nation-states draw upon to understand and construct ideological representations of socio-political events, namely the Romanian ‘revolution’ of 1989. The analysis shows how the possibility versus the actuality of knowing the truth about the events, (political) accountability and stake for actions are discussed, framed and given significance by constituting the ‘events’ of 1989 as ‘revolution’. The analysis further reveals how this ascribed categorial meaning is used by the interviewee as background for delegitimizing critical voices and sidestepping responsibility for past actions and knowing the truth. Social and community psychologists can learn more about how individuals and communities construct ideological versions of socio-political events by considering the interplay between questions of political accountability and arguments over the meaning of political categories, and engaging with the accounting practices in which the meaning of socio-political events is being negotiated by members of society Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.