American Sociological Association

At the Foot of the Grave: Challenging Collective Memories of Violence in Post-Franco Spain

Understanding the development and meaning of collective memory is a central interest for sociologists. One aspect of this literature focuses on the processes that social movement actors use to introduce long-silenced counter-memories of violence to supplant the “official” memory. To examine this, I draw on 15 months of ethnographic observations with the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) and 200 informal and 30 formal interviews with locals and activists. This paper demonstrates that ARMH activists, during forensic classes given at mass grave exhumations, use multiple tactics (depoliticized science framing, action-oriented objects, and embodiment) to deliver a counter-memory of the Spanish Civil War and Franco regime and make moral and transitional justice claims. This research shows how victims’ remains and the personal objects found in the graves also provoke the desired meaning that emotionally connects those listening to the classes to the victims and the ARMH’s counter-memory.

Authors

Nicole Iturriaga

Volume

5