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Excavating buried memories: mnemonic production in the railways under London and Berlin 1933-2013

Merrill, SOC; (2014) Excavating buried memories: mnemonic production in the railways under London and Berlin 1933-2013. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

In this thesis I explore the production of social memory in the subterranean infrastructural landscapes of the London Underground and the Berlin U- and S-Bahn within a period spanning roughly the last eight decades between 1933 and 2013. To do this I apply an approach that is interdisciplinary in scope, comparative in nature and lies at the nexus of transport and cultural history, historical and cultural geography, and memory, landscape and heritage studies. More specifically this approach necessitates an engagement with the theories and literatures related to landscape, social memory and urban infrastructures in order to create new ways to study the cultural geographic and historic characteristics of urban underground railways, whilst simultaneously problematising the biased application of landscape approaches in non-urban contexts and contributing to the re-theorisation of the relationship of landscape and infrastructure. This is achieved by establishing ‘the social memories of landscape’ as my central focus, and the actors, processes, structures and discourses implicated in the production of a variety of ‘buried memories’ as my main concerns. Thereafter, and upon establishing the main components of this research’s mixed methodological and case-orientated comparative approach, I use a series of empirically grounded comparative excavations to shed light on how social memories are produced in the physical, representational and experiential landscapes of the Underground, U- and S-Bahn as exemplified by their cartographies and toponymies, realised and unrealised memorials, and alternative and creative uses of their ruins and vestiges. These excavations contribute in turn to new understandings of the mnemonic actors, processes, structures and discourses that have particular influence and resonance in these urban underground landscapes, and hence serve to demonstrate how the Underground, U- and S-Bahn’s subterranean transport contexts influence the production of social memory.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Excavating buried memories: mnemonic production in the railways under London and Berlin 1933-2013
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1456646
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