The Repertoire of Political Violence: Naming, Defining, and Classifying

  • Oriana BernasconiEmail author
  • Loreto López
  • Marcela Ruiz


This chapter reconstructs part of the repertoire of Chilean state terrorism by identifying and analysing the classification systems organised and employed by the Comité and the Vicaría between 1973 and 1992. It also reviews the impact of this repertoire on comprehension of the dreadful events concerned, and on the capacity to act in response—both during the military rule and in the post-dictatorial period. Following an ethno-taxonomic approach, it analyses databases produced during archival research, official truth Commission reports from 1991, 1996, 2004, and 2011 and interviews with the Comité and the Vicaría former staff members. The chapter firstly examines the denominations used for individuals and repressive situations denounced and registered by the organisations. Secondly, it reconstructs the stabilisation of terminology around one type of victim, the detenido desaparecido (disappeared person). Thirdly, it evinces the transposition of this repertoire to state truth commission’s reports and reflects on its implications. The conclusions reflect on this taxonomic work role in deciphering and resisting state terrorism and assisting its victims.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oriana Bernasconi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Loreto López
    • 2
  • Marcela Ruiz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversidad Alberto HurtadoSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Programa Psicología Social de la MemoriaUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Department of Language and LiteratureUniversidad Alberto HurtadoSantiagoChile

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