State violence has left deep scars in various societies in Latin America, and continuing debates in the public sphere attest to the fact that the past is still very much present. In this chapter I present two related arguments, one pertaining to the temporal dimension of public memory and the other to the spatial contexts. Firstly, the chapter shows that time is not linear in histories of political confrontation and violence, and of repression and suffering. The passage of time does not imply closure or a societal sense of having settled accounts with the past. Looking at a con-flictual and painful past, and searching for its meaning, is a never-ending undertaking. It is also conflict-ridden and its representation is highly contested in each subsequent ‘present’. While political and social actors may attempt to attain closure, in the long run the outcome is usually failure.
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- The Past in the Present: Memories of State Violence in Contemporary Latin America
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