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Memories of Forgetting in Conflictive Social Contexts. The Competition of Memorial Cultures and Its Reflection in the Arts: A Case Study from the Basque Country

Abstract : After Franco’s death in 1975 there was a transitional process to a democratic system in Spain. However, the struggle between the Spanish state and, especially, left-wing Basque nationalists, based on identity and ideological grounds, persisted in the Basque Country. This conflict includes what H. Grabes (2008) calls the “competition of memorial cultures”. In order to preserve its memory canon, from the 1970s on, a part of the Basque society has spontaneously constructed its subaltern memory (J. Colmeiro, 2011) through art, thus creating a subaltern cultural memory. Numerous artistic initiatives took place outside the public institutional sphere based on their own conceptions of memory sites (P. Nora, 1989), most of them directly related to the conflict. This cultural memory reflects the political problematic in many different ways, not only regarding the content of the representations themselves or to their subaltern nature, but also because of the policies developed out of them by public institutions. A. Assmann (2008) theorizes about cultural institutions of active and passive memory and associates institutions of forgetting with totalitarian states. Nonetheless, some public policies implemented in Spain with regard to the subaltern memorial culture of a part of Basque society show that in some cases it is not only being ignored, but also negated. Beyond the exclusion that the formation of the canon and archive carry with them, many different examples of interventions carried out regarding artworks forming part of that memorial culture allow us to further develop the concept of “cultural institution” connected to active and passive forgetting, which converts memory sites into spaces of struggle (Ch. Dupláa, 2000). This need to expand the conceptual framework in order to describe the situation suggests that the Spanish transition to democracy might not have been fully completed.
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https://hal-univ-pau.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02549916
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 6:22:54 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 1:52:15 AM

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Amaia Elizalde, Ismael Manterola. Memories of Forgetting in Conflictive Social Contexts. The Competition of Memorial Cultures and Its Reflection in the Arts: A Case Study from the Basque Country. Memory Studies '17/ Conference on Memory and Past, Sep 2017, Istambul, Turkey. pp.37--48. ⟨hal-02549916⟩

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