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Open Access 1. The Usable Past in the Lemberg Armenian Community’s Struggle for Equal Rights, 1578–1654

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1. The Usable Past in the Lemberg Armenian Community’s Struggle for Equal Rights, 1578–1654

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Chapter Summary

Appadurai brilliantly demonstrates the multiplicity of different interpretations of the shared past by different interest groups, but in doing so, he accepts the past as a given body of shared knowledge/representations. This chapter analyses how a group's past was constructed in the process of several court disputes which took place between the city magistrate and the Armenian community of Lemberg. It investigates the reasons for the systematic revision of previous historical arguments made by Armenians, in order to highlight the deliberate reinvention of the past and the mechanisms of this reinvention. The chapter demonstrates how the townspeople's framework of memory was influenced by the historical culture of the nobility. The city magistrate made successive efforts to restrict the judicial autonomy of the Armenian community. Using capital accumulated in trade with the Orient, Armenian merchants began to push their Catholic competitors out of the Lemberg market.

Keywords: Appadurai; Armenian community; Catholic competitors; historical culture; Lemberg



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