Commemoration and Contestation in Post-Dictatorship Argentina and Uruguay
Conclusion: Fragile Memory, Shifting Impunity: Fissures, Entrepreneurs and Sites in Dialogue
Gone. Buried. Covered by the dust of defeat – or so the conquerors believed. But there is nothing that can be hidden from the mind. Nothing that memory cannot reach or touch or call back. Memory is a weapon. —Don Mattera1
This book opened with reference to two recent controversies surrounding the Argentine ESMA and Uruguayan Memorial to Disappeared Detainees. These incendiary moments illustrate the ways in which state and societal intervention and discussion around commemorative sites remain salient features of the socio-political landscape, not only years after the end of dictatorial rule, but over a decade after these sites were recovered and/or created. This might have seemed a rather pessimistic opening gambit; yet as this study has hopefully elucidated through a combination of conceptual discussions over memory and analysis of contestation over a range of transitory, permanent, official and unofficial memorial sites, such fissures should not necessarily be judged negatively but rather acknowledged and scrutinized. Moving beyond extant architectural and aesthetic readings of sites of memory both deepens our understanding of the underlying processes of conceptualization, management and administration of such sites and illuminates the continuing contestation to which sites of memory are subjected throughout their lifespans. By foregrounding the evolution of these debates and controversies over the longue durée, the contrasting case studies can be situated within the wider struggles for memory and justice in Argentina and Uruguay. Furthermore, the shifts observed over the past twenty years, along with the changing constellations ← 247 | 248...
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