Between the unbearable weight and lightness of the past: Banal Silence in Spain’s Post-Dictatorship Memory Politics

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikel

Abstract

This paper explores the role of silence in Spain’s post-dictatorship memory politics. More specifically, the paper examines the forgotten Spanish colonial past in North Africa vis-à-vis the so-called pact of silence that accompanied Spain’s transition to democracy after the Franco dictatorship. Drawing on various theoretical approaches in relation to collective memory, traditionally assumed associations between silence and forgetting are questioned. As is argued, silence may nurture and preserve memory just as it may also feed into forgetting. In the former case, silence typically enshrouds a living memory of a past that still weighs on the present, as the pact of silence in Spain clearly illustrates. In the latter case, silence signals a past perceived as already left behind and alien to society’s current problems, as is the case of the Spanish colonial past in North Africa. In order to further explore the latter case, the notion of banal silence is introduced. Such notion points to cases where silence over certain contentious historical issues goes unnoticed by society, thus becoming naturalized. The paper concludes with some final reflexions on memory, banal silence and political change.
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Detaljer

This paper explores the role of silence in Spain’s post-dictatorship memory politics. More specifically, the paper examines the forgotten Spanish colonial past in North Africa vis-à-vis the so-called pact of silence that accompanied Spain’s transition to democracy after the Franco dictatorship. Drawing on various theoretical approaches in relation to collective memory, traditionally assumed associations between silence and forgetting are questioned. As is argued, silence may nurture and preserve memory just as it may also feed into forgetting. In the former case, silence typically enshrouds a living memory of a past that still weighs on the present, as the pact of silence in Spain clearly illustrates. In the latter case, silence signals a past perceived as already left behind and alien to society’s current problems, as is the case of the Spanish colonial past in North Africa. In order to further explore the latter case, the notion of banal silence is introduced. Such notion points to cases where silence over certain contentious historical issues goes unnoticed by society, thus becoming naturalized. The paper concludes with some final reflexions on memory, banal silence and political change.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftIntegrative Psychological and Behavioral Science
ISSN1932-4502
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2018
PublikationsartForskning
Peer reviewJa
ID: 266714696