Memory, Identity and Political Communities – The Discursive Construction of the Transatlantic Alliance


  • Sarah Sporys Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg



Memory, U.S., Europe, Transatlantic Relations, Discourse, Community, Transatlantic Memory Community


The transatlantic community has, from its inception, been described as a community of like-minded nations that is held together not only by interests but also by shared values. These are based on a common identity – of what Karl W. Deutsch has called a “we-feeling” (36). Memory is a binding factor for both national and international communities because it contributes to their self-understanding in the present and is indispensable for imagining a common future. Given this assumption, this paper uses theories of memory as an analytical tool for studying the transatlantic partnership. More specifically, this paper will introduce the term and concept of a “transatlantic memory community” which is developed from Maurice Halbwachs’s concept of collective memory. It is based on the idea that the members of the Atlantic Community have developed a shared understanding of the past due to their membership in this political and ideational community. The analysis of the historical framing of the Bosnian conflict in Germany, France and the United States (U.S.) will serve as an example of the development of mnemonical commonplaces in the Atlantic Alliance.

Author Biography

Sarah Sporys, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Sarah Sporys is a Doctoral Candidate in Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Freiburg (Germany). She recently completed a visiting research stay at Georgetown University (USA). Her doctoral project traces memory politics in transatlantic relations in the post-Cold War period from the mid-1990s to early 2000s. She received her B.A. in British and American Studies and History from the University of Constance and her M.A. in Contemporary European Studies from the University of Bath and Sciences Po Paris.




How to Cite

Sporys, Sarah. “Memory, Identity and Political Communities – The Discursive Construction of the Transatlantic Alliance”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 20, no. 1, Nov. 2019, doi:10.5283/copas.308.