Politics of Memory and Moving Forward: The Rise of Memorials and Counter-Memorials in Post-Conflict Guatemala
AuthorPettersen, Christian Leland
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractGuatemala officially ended its 36-year civil war with the signing of the peace accords in 1996. After the signing of the accords, two truth commissions recorded valuable oral testimony and published their findings, with the claim they were spreading restorative justice. At the same time, retribution seemed far off; many of the generals in charge of orchestrating the genocide had impunity. On March 19, 2013, criminal prosecution for those generals began. In my thesis, I argue that in addition to truth commissions and criminal prosecutions, there is a third component to public healing and justice: sites of memory. I recognize that sites of public memory have function, that they open spaces for dialogue and reconciliation. Through the analysis of three sites in Guatemala, I examine the relationship between sites of memory and neoliberal peace, arguing that they are an essential element to the formation of a common narrative, and the strengthening of regional hegemony.
Degree ProgramHonors College