Mediatization of Solidarity Myth at the Permanent Exhibition of the European Solidarity Centre

Mediatization of Solidarity Myth at the Permanent Exhibition of the European Solidarity Centre

Konrad Knoch (University of Gdańsk, Poland)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9100-9.ch005

Abstract

This chapter attempts to define the concepts of myth and of mediatization in the context of building great historical narratives. Modern historical museums and narrative exhibitions are treated in the publication as new media whose main task is to communicate narratives about the past to mass audiences, using digital methods of recording, saving, storing data, as well as of creating and transmitting messages. The chapter describes a short history of the creation of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk and the permanent exhibition. In the main part, the text also describes how the ECS (and the permanent exhibition located within) attempt to both present the myth of solidarity and to mediatize it.
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Myth

Myths can be considered in many contexts, including religious, philosophical, anthropological, historical, literary, and even psychological ones. Izabela Trzcińska (2011, p.37) reminds us that the concept of myth is ambiguous, multidimensional, and the definitions themselves are infinite.

The Dictionary of the Polish Language (Dictionary of the Polish Language online, 2019), Wikipedia (Myth, 2019), or Kopaliński’s Dictionary of Foreign Words (Kopaliński’s Dictionary of Foreign Words online, 2017) define myths as stories about the lives of gods or heroes, designed to explain the birth of the world, man, as well as the sense of individual or collective experience, including false opinions about something or someone, and also false stories. One of the most famous definitions – an ethnoreligious one – was offered by Mircea Eliade (2017). For him, the myth tells a sacred story, describes an event that took place in a distant, originary period – in the legendary time of “beginnings”. It also expresses a longing for paradise and is an expression of nostalgia or regret for the lost past: “subjected to the process of mythization, transformed into an archetype, that ‘the past’ – regardless of the regret for the lost time – includes a thousand other meanings: it expresses everything that could happen, and what has not happened”(Eliade, 2017, Kindle Locations 339–34, 451–457).

Ian Barbour (2016) is of a slightly different opinion. While referring to some outstanding scientists (e.g. Malinowski, Strauss, Jung), he points out that myths prove functional not only in the original moments (like the creation of the world or the prehistoric events), but also in connection to key historical events. Then, myths organize the experience, explain and show the structure of reality, generate a distanced perspective, and thus serve as an element of memory passing from generation to generation. They provide patterns of behaviour, and finally refer to the imagination, evoke emotional reactions. Myths encourage action, too: “[They] portray and convey a power to transform man’s life”(Barbour, 2016, p.20). It the end, being a mechanism or a defence strategy, they help to reduce anxiety, give a sense of security, and restore social balance: “They are a source of security and a symbolic resolution of conflicts” ”(Barbour, 2016, p.20). In this way, they contribute to the integration of society, to the growth of intra-social solidarity and to a sense of group identity. A myth can also “reflect the reality that coincides with the imagination and feeling of the world for a given area and time”(Trzcińska, 2011, p.34). Anyway, it was noticed in the antiquities that some myths may be probable, and prove useful in politics and social pedagogy (Kiereś, 2018).

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