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Acta poética

versión On-line ISSN 2448-735Xversión impresa ISSN 0185-3082


CALVEIRO, Pilar. Testimonio y memoria en el relato histórico. Acta poét [online]. 2006, vol.27, n.2, pp.65-86. ISSN 2448-735X.

This text addresses the role of witnessing and memory in the construction of the historical account of state-inflicted atrocities in the 20th century. It discusses: 1) personal experience transmitted by witnesses and 2) social experience processed in memory for the construction of the "true" history. In other words, what is "true" in the testimonials and in memory and, consequently, to what extent they should influence the construction of history. The analysis is performed from the point of view of the Argentinean experience of State Terror in the '70s, as one of the cases of Latin-American states with "disappearances", which tried to eliminate every opposing opinion as well as all traces of the repression. In that sense, testimonials and memory were organized since the beginning as politically denoted practices, varied though carrying one specific direction: resistance to official silence. Although it's true that the historical account is not totally lacking in positioning, it should account for the different meanings evidenced in a society, not only in the members of the resistance. We could say that history builds a more encompassing and more general account though, in doing so, it usually falls for the disciplinary temptation of considering itself superior and of vindicating an alleged right of qualification and hierarchy over knowledge more connected to direct experience. However, it also has the possibility of being constructed in articulation and dialogue with this knowledge, by taking it into account and confronting it. The difference between these two possible approaches has a political "mark": the role assigned to resistance in the construction of the history of State Terror as a socially validated "true" account.

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