Poppies, Tommies and remembrance

Winter 2014

The centenary of WWI has produced a plethora of activities and events, building upon the cultural obsession with remembrance that emerged in Britain in the last 30 years and in which the media plays a significant role. WWI frames contemporary practices of remembrance, but politicians, organisations and individuals contest the meanings of Remembrance Sunday and the Poppy. Remembrance, narratives, myths and memories of WWI are tied up with constructions of nationhood and recently there has been a blurring in the public imagination between contemporary conflicts and WWI. Broadcast media’s focus on private lives and personal stories have led the Tommy to emerge as a new working class hero, a victim as well as a and family member and enabled those in the armed forces to have an increasingly central place in British cultural life. Questions remain about how this will shape Britain’s military involvement in the current volatile global situation.

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Soundings 58 Dialogue and memory