PDC Homepage

Home » Products » Purchase

History of Communism in Europe

Volume 4, 2013

Transitional Justice and Civil Societies after Dictatorial Regimes

Rebekah Park
Pages 87-111

Remembering Resistance, Forgetting Torture: Compromiso and Gender in Former Political Prisoners’ Oral History Narratives in Post-dictatorial Argentina

This paper focuses on how thirty-nine former political prisoners in Córdoba, Argentina spoke about their compromiso (political commitment) to a leftist, socialist-leaning political project during the Cold War. After being imprisoned in the 1970s and 1980s and then marginalized after being freed, they began to formally record their stories in the mid-2000s as part of their political activism. In these thirty-nine oral history narratives, collected in 2008 and 2009, women, by and large, spoke about personal experiences in clandestine detention centres, while the men focused on Argentina’s broader history of social and labour movements. This paper theorizes that men interviewed in this study speak about values of solidarity and resistance in broad historic-social terms, while their women counterparts focus on personal experiences; in this regard, men and women both focus on the most salient, and available, site of political commitment for their respective genders. Identifying such a distinction between the stories told by male and female survivors is relevant for the ways in which Argentina’s history is told in memorialized spaces, encouraging curators, historians, and archivists to make use of both personal narratives as well as the broadly historical ones, and is crucial to understanding how acts of resistance and solidarity were gendered, even though social transformation is assumed to be “gender-neutral.”

Usage and Metrics
Dimensions
PDC