‘Round Up the Unusual Suspects’: Banal Commemoration and the Role of the Media

Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Toward the end of the classic (1942) movie Casablanca, Captain Louis Renault instructs his men to ‘round up the usual suspects’ after a Nazi general is discovered dead under dubious circumstances. In this essay I would like to round up the ‘unusual’ suspects in the question of collective memory. For a great many theoretical and methodological reasons, scholars from different disciplines examine the work of agents of memory as well as the form and content of commemoration during official mnemonic times and spaces. The role of the media in this endeavor, however, is surprisingly much less prevalent and developed (Meyers, 2007; Neiger, Zandberg, and Meyers, this volume), in many ways simply taken for granted and thus overlooked. I would like here to focus on what I call ‘banal commemoration’, highlighting the role played by the media as the major social domain in which and through which these non-intrusive pieces of knowledge play themselves out. I will use the struggle over the commemoration of Yitzhak Rabin to introduce, address, and illustrate the notion of banal commemoration. Before elaborating on this concept and its social significance, a few words are in order about the present case study and the relationship between collective memory and commemoration.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationOn Media Memory
Subtitle of host publicationCollective Memory in a New Media Age
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NamePalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
ISSN (Print)2634-6257
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6265

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011, Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi.


  • American Sociological Review
  • Collective Memory
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • Israel Defense Force
  • Peace Process


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