Dealing with the Past. Politiche della memoria e discorso giuridico: il caso spagnolo

by Patrizia Violi

in Versus n. 116, Politiche della memoria. Uno sguardo semiotico, pp.31-59

Abstract (english)

In recent years growing attention has been given to the role that memory plays in transitional historical phases, as a new powerful link between past atrocities and a possible peaceful future.
While memory is nowadays generally recognized as a central factor in transition and a powerful agent of change, its role has still to be further defined, especially after the fall of a dictatorship.
In relation to other post-conflict situations, a post-dictatorship society always implies contrasting memories in conflict with one another, since dictatorships can only occur if a significant component of the society support or tolerate the regime. This results in memory itself becoming a potential battlefield, a contested space of hegemonic discourse, involving a rewriting of past history and redefinition of possible future developments where it is often the case that memory issues act as barriers to, rather than facilitators of, the establishment of a genuine democratic transition.
Within this general framework, this paper analyses the post-Franco situation in Spain, in relation to the recent Ley de Memoria Histórica approved in 2007.