Tell me your story about the Chilean dictatorship: When doing memory is taking positions
The current memory struggles about the Chilean dictatorship makes it increasingly relevant to hear a diverse range of voices on the subject. One way of addressing this is to study autobiographical narratives, in which people construct a character to present themselves as the protagonists of a story by taking multiple positions regarding what is remembered. This article presents a study that analyzed the life stories of Chilean people (diverse in their generations, cities, experiences of political repression, political orientations and socio-economic levels) and that distinguished between the positions that they take when presenting themselves as the protagonists of an autobiographical story about the Chilean dictatorship. The results point to salient and recurrent positions that allow people to earn the right to be considered part of the social history of the dictatorship, that involve different definitions regarding those responsible and the victims of what happened, and that unveil a strong family and filial logic of remembering.
On 11 September 1973, a democratic socialist project (led by President Allende) was interrupted by a coup d’état that installed 17 years of dictatorship. Nowadays, more than 40 years after the coup, there are several positions, versions and memories of the events that took place during the dictatorship and their consequences. This diversity of versions is similar to what has been observed in other countries in the southern cone as a result of dictatorial regimes during the 1970s (Jelin, 2002; Winn, 2014).
In Chile, during the post-dictatorial years, the State memory policies and the persistence of the economic and political legacies of the dictatorship show that, while memory about what happened is created, silences are also produced (Stern, 2009). Diverse State actors and civil society have mobilized to promote a common understanding of the dictatorship as a period of systematic and unjustified violations of human rights, posing in the public debate issues related to human rights, truth and justice (Lira, 2016; Stern, 2016; Stern and Winn, 2014).
Cornejo, M., Rocha, C., Villarroel, N., Cáceres, E. & Vivanco, A. (2018). Tell me your story about the Chilean dictatorship: When doing memory is taking positions. Memory Studies (Online first). Disponible en DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750698018761170