Terror and Identity: The Case of Argentina and the Importance of the Different ‘Representations’ of the Past



This chapter analyzes the ways in which mass violence destroys social ties through the traumatic effects of terror, transforming the identity of the survivors and their societies. Questioning the notion that the perpetrators are motivated by hatred or evil, or that they seek to eradicate population groups for ideological reasons alone, it examines the functionality and effectiveness of mass violence over time and attempts to determine why its effects are so enduring. Taking the Argentine state violence from 1976 to 1983 as an example, it examines the implications of different types of memory for processing the traumatic consequences of terror. To this end, it revisits Raphael Lemkin’s pioneering concept of genocide as the “destruction of the national identity of the oppressed group” in the light of contemporary developments in neuroscience, psychoanalysis, and social sciences.


Genocide Memory Identity Collective identities Social fabric Argentina 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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