Remembering Obedience and Dissent: Democratic Citizenship and Memorials to State Violence in Australia and Argentina

  • Robin RoddEmail author
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


Memorials to state violence can be read as cultural ledgers of what constitutes legitimate citizenship practice and acceptable citizen–state relations. This chapter explores the significance of Argentinian and Australian memorials for understanding how past political action shapes a horizon of political possibility. First, it examines how ANZAC memorials celebrate empire, obedience and the status quo. ANZAC exists in a field of other memorials and cultural texts in Australia that negate politics and possibility for emancipation. Next, it discusses several Argentinian memorials that reflect the diversity of Argentina’s politics of memory. While questions of popular complicity in the state violence of the 1970s have yet to be memorialized, Argentine memorials nonetheless recognize the legitimacy of dissent as a basis of democratic citizenship. Drawing out the significance of the comparison by discussing memorials in relation to theories of citizen agency, this chapter problematizes the northwest-centric view of democracy as end, and reveals the importance of remembering challenges to power as a basis for ongoing democratization. Based on a comparison of memorials in relation to theories of democratic citizenship, the chapter contends that Australia’s political subjectivity is amenable to dedemocratization while Argentina’s reflects the possibility of open-ended democratization.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.James Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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