History and television in Europe 2016

Some might ask why we take interest in the evocation of former times when the EU is on the verge of a crisis that could lead to its dissolution. The reason is that representations of the past, such as they appear in the media, often reflect on-going anxieties, it would not be incongruous to say that, by regularly looking at television broadcasts and allusions to history on the Web, a perceptive observer would have foreseen the difficulties the Union has been facing for about three years. We began our inquiry in 2008-2010 and, resuming it after six years, we come across impressive changes that are not mere updating of old programmes but signal a deep uneasiness with regard to the past and the present days. There are now more historical channels and there are more programs on History, which quite often relate indirectly to present preoccupations. At the same time there is a tendency to enclose History inside the national frontiers.

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History and Web in Europe 2016

In 2012, when we began our study about the circulation of common places and more or less accurate representations of History in the web, notably in blogs and social networks, Facebook and other forums were in their heyday, there was an enormous enthusiasm for a medium that allowed anybody to express opinions and display a (supposed) awareness of what had happened in the past. There were then absurd statements but there were also interesting debates. The fall of the Berlin wall, the end of the Cold war, the quick, seemingly easy building of an European Union made it possible to peacefully discuss about recent issues like the Wars, the origins of Communism, the end of intra-European conflicts. After 2012, in a very short span of time, it turned out that Europe, far from being the centre of the world, was a small peninsula threatened by mass migrations from other continents and that the Union was a fragile construction. The EU was questioned and, inside most countries, people started also to quarrel instead of trying to debate calmly.

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