Argentina's Dirty War: Counter-Hegemonic Collective Memories & Frame Analysis

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 62
Oral Presentation
Roberta VILLALON , Sociology & Anthropology, St. John's University, Queens, NY
In this paper, I analyze the contentious and long-lasting collective process to document, understand and reach justice for victims of Argentina's Dirty War, based on fundamental texts produced after the end of the last military dictatorship. By looking into the Nunca Mas (Never Again) report prepared by the National Commission on the Disappearance of People (CONADEP), which included hundreds of testimonies by survivors of torture and acquaintances, reading scholarly analyses on this matter, and finding testimonies published in other venues, I discuss how this report became a master narrative from which subsequent interpretations of the Dirty War emerged. I apply Goffman’s (1986) frame analysis theory to understand the complexities and nuances of processes of collective memory-making, and identify how hegemonic and counter-hegemonic frames were used to create meanings and organize experiences of the Dirty War. Then, I propose alternative frames (an “intersectional frame” and an “emotions-conscious frame”) with the aim of contributing to ongoing and long-lasting collective efforts to comprehend this phase of history. While this use of frame analysis may be considered unorthodox given that scholars do not generally impose a frame on a document, I intend to demonstrate the power of framing and reframing as tools to animate what existing frames may be masking and thus reach deeper levels of understanding through furthering the production of counter-hegemonic knowledge.