Forms of Historical Oblivion and Figures of Silence in Commemorative Practices of the Black Lives Matter Movement: A Comparative Analysis of Media Discourses in English-Speaking Countries
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Cancel Culture Historical Forgetting Figure of Silence Commemorative Practices Black Lives Matter Critical Discourse-Analysis Memory Studies Identity Community of Memory Obvilion

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Linchenko, A. (2024). Forms of Historical Oblivion and Figures of Silence in Commemorative Practices of the Black Lives Matter Movement: A Comparative Analysis of Media Discourses in English-Speaking Countries. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 6(1), 225-243.


The Black Lives Matter (BLM) social movement has emerged as a prominent challenge to the principles and values of contemporary societies. Concurrently, the practices of cancel culture extend to the historical past as well. The primary objective of this article is to conduct a comparative analysis of forms of historical forgetting and figures of silence within the commemorative practices of BLM, as depicted in media discourses across the English-speaking countries. Making use of the critical discourse analysis methodology of N. Fairclough and S. Jäger, this study analyzes the discursive aspects of monument cancellations and key figures of silence in the media portrayal of BLM commemorative practices in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia.

The research reveals that, despite the unique characteristics of media discourses in Australia and Canada, particularly concerning the memory of indigenous peoples, the canceling practices in the countries examined exhibit similar features. These include general forms of oblivion associated with the formation of a new identity, as outlined by P. Connerton, and the use of forgetting as a weapon, as described by A. Assmann, in the quest for symbolic capital. This study identifies and examines key figures of silence within BLM as a community of memory, including a-historical perspective of colonial era events, disproportionate focus on selected cancellation facts, invocation of collective guilt, silence over morally questionable traits of the oppressed, absence of a constructive program linking past and future, and unchecked emotional expression regarding the past.
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