IRONY, MEMORY, AND MEMORABILIA: AMERICANS CONSUMING THE COLD WAR


Author: Bridget McKenney Costello

Abstract: A small purchase made by the author at the flea market in front of the Alexandar Nevski Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2010 serves the point of departure for this work, which explores the manner in which certain American tourists interact with the spaces and memories of Eastern Europe. The conflicted nationalism that arises from these encounters, which manifests as ‘ironic consumption’ (Klein 1999) of touristic objects and experiences, is produced by a tension between the broad cultural tropes that communicate and perpetrate a triumphal understanding of the Cold War in the American popular imagination, and the tourist’s own experiences of social and economic anxiety in the post-Cold War era.

 Keywords: tourism; consumption; memory; national identity; Cold War

About Ana Luleva

Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей, БАН София 1000 Ул. „Московска“ 6А