The purpose of this study is to analyze past and present experiences of former political prisoners who have been affected by the violence of the Uruguayan military dictatorship (1973–1985). It adopts a multifaceted approach to the study of traumatic memories and argues for a de-psychologization of the concept of trauma, too centered on traumatized individuals rather than the historical and political circumstances that are at the root of their suffering and sustain it in the present time. Other themes explored are the gender and political fractures within the mnemonic community of victims, how collective frames shape personal memories, and the transmission of painful experiences through generations. The construction of a scenario in which traumatic memories are recognized as collective wounds to be publicly dealt with is not considered a ‘triumph of truth,’ but rather a complex moral and political reframing of the past. In this respect, this contribution analyzes the symbolic grammars that have facilitated new social solidarities and emotional identifications through which the victims’ memories can reach a wider audience. Finally, it sheds light on the author’s intellectual journey through the topics of research and shows how his doctoral fieldwork in Turkey has urged him to rethink the data collected in Uruguay. The aim is to show how anthropological ‘facts’ are not ‘found’ but ‘made.’

Reframing a Painful Past. The Memories of the Uruguayan Military Dictatorship

lorenzo d'orsi
2019

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to analyze past and present experiences of former political prisoners who have been affected by the violence of the Uruguayan military dictatorship (1973–1985). It adopts a multifaceted approach to the study of traumatic memories and argues for a de-psychologization of the concept of trauma, too centered on traumatized individuals rather than the historical and political circumstances that are at the root of their suffering and sustain it in the present time. Other themes explored are the gender and political fractures within the mnemonic community of victims, how collective frames shape personal memories, and the transmission of painful experiences through generations. The construction of a scenario in which traumatic memories are recognized as collective wounds to be publicly dealt with is not considered a ‘triumph of truth,’ but rather a complex moral and political reframing of the past. In this respect, this contribution analyzes the symbolic grammars that have facilitated new social solidarities and emotional identifications through which the victims’ memories can reach a wider audience. Finally, it sheds light on the author’s intellectual journey through the topics of research and shows how his doctoral fieldwork in Turkey has urged him to rethink the data collected in Uruguay. The aim is to show how anthropological ‘facts’ are not ‘found’ but ‘made.’
Uruguay, traumatic memory, social trauma, violence, comparativism
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/385674
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