Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Global and International Studies
The last Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983) employed strategies of extreme violence against its own people, including kidnapping and killing an estimated 30,000 people. After the dictatorship ended in 1983, the country began a process of reconstructing the collective societal memory of the dictatorship years, which involved individuals processing their memories of family members and friends who had “disappeared” (now known as los desaparecidos or “the disappeared in Spanish”). This investigation focuses on how former Argentine Presidents Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Kirchner (2007-2015) reignited the national discourse around the dictatorship years and shaped the collective memories of the public in recent years.
Specifically, this work is a discourse analysis of three speeches given by Néstor and Cristina Kirchner in recent years. All three of the speeches analyzed were given on March 24th, the anniversary of the coup that installed the dictatorship, and all three commemorate important steps taken to remember the victims of the dictatorship. The speeches will be analyzed using several linguistic tools, including looking for nodal signifiers (words that refer to abstract ideas), master signifiers (which refer to identity), binaries created (polarizations between two separate ideas or sides), and examining how Néstor and Cristina place themselves and their roles as Presidents of Argentina in the discourse.
The investigation concludes that through these commemorative speeches, the Presidents use the collective memory of the dictatorship years to articulate several goals: seeking final justice for los desaparecidos, unifying the country under one master narrative of the dictatorship years, placing blame on responsible societal actors, and a setting a direction for the future while facilitating the national healing process.
Wiley, Caitlin, "Collective Memory and the Argentine Military Dictatorship: A Discourse Analysis" (2018). Honors Theses. 3179.
Honors Thesis-Open Access