The struggle of Argentina : A research project about collective memory, reconciliation and dealing with a conflictive past

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This research project is about how Argentinean society deals with its conflictive past. The primary objective of this research project is to gain more insight into how the HROs in Rosario, Argentina influence the hegemonic collective memory, by investigating their chosen truth and comparing this to the hegemonic collective memory. The secondary objective is to gain more knowledge about a possible influence of the HROs in Rosario on the process of reconciliation, by assessing the behavior of the HROs and comparing this to the theories of reconciliation. This research project was done using methodological triangulation. A variety of sources and methods were used, such as the information from literature research, the media and interviews. This contributed to the coverage of the phenomenon, which in turn contributed to the validity of the research project. Literature research was used to outline a historical background and a theoretical framework, which formed the foundation of this research project and functioned as a touchstone to measure the data. The media, in the form of the newspaper Pagina12, were used to paint a picture of the hegemonic collective memory. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews with staff members of human rights organizations (HROs) were used to paint a picture of the chosen truth of the HROs. Both the newspaper articles as well as the interviews were analyzed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative research methods were first used to extract the useful parts of information out of a vast quantity of data. Subsequently, this selection of information was investigated with the help of qualitative research methods. In order to paint a clear picture of the hegemonic collective memory and the chosen truth of the HROs, both perspectives were decomposed into the variables memory, justice, truth and reconciliation. Finally, a concluding chapter has been written in which the reflection of the four variables in the chosen truth of the HROs and the hegemonic collective memory were compared. In this manner, the influence of the HROs on the hegemonic collective memory and their influence on a process of reconciliation could be determined. It was concluded that the influence of the HROs on the hegemonic collective memory can be considered overall moderate. When looked at the different variables separately, the HROs have quite some influence with regard to the variables memory and reconciliation, due to their active and strategic use of memory and their demands for justice and truth. On the other hand, the HROs only partially influence the variable justice, considering that they do have a heavy influence on the idea of retributive justice, however, their distrust towards the judicial system cannot be found in the hegemonic collective memory. Furthermore, the HROs influence the variable truth only to a small degree. The hegemonic collective memory only shows a partial unofficial factual framework that consists with the chosen truth of the HROs in the sense that it has only demarcation criteria between victims and culprits. Furthermore, it was concluded that the HROs do impede a process of reconciliation. Their active and strategic use of memory leads to a compulsive remembering and is based on events that have happened in the past. They have created a backward-looking narrative that keeps them lingering in the past. Be doing this they are unable to aim their efforts towards the future, which impedes a process of reconciliation.
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