How are difficult pasts communicated in commercial contexts? In an article recently published in the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Simon Schlegel and Alena Pfoser examine the strategies used by tour guides in Kyiv to talk about contested memories to Russian-speaking audiences. The article shows that in order to avoid conflicts guides adjust how much they say to tourists, what evidence they provide, what aspects of the past they present as relevant as well as their manner of speaking. More generally, it argues that these conflict avoidance strategies are part of a pragmatic approach to memory that deserves greater attention in the study of difficult pasts.
The article can be read in Open Access here.