Accepted paper:

Reprogramming memory: Chilean post-dictatorship memory under social mobilization


Felipe Lagos (Goldsmiths)

Paper short abstract:

The main aim of this communication is to offer a reading of two recent Chilean artworks –namely, a dramaturgic text and a novel– from the viewpoint of the fractures of the collective memory and its reconfiguration through the experiences and forms of social, anti-neoliberal mobilization.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation aims to introduce conceptual elements around the role of "memory" in the comprehension of the recent Chilean social movements' narrative. In doing so, it is pretended to problematize the political meaning of memory through experiential registers which cut across history and biography.

The starting point establishes the immanent -though no evident- relationship between, on one hand, social mobilization as experiential space (that of praxis) where narrative reconstruction from subaltern positions operate, and on the other, active memory as a contingent, unstable outcome of such reconstructions. In a Benjaminian register, the mobilized reconstructive practices in Chile would trigger a "memory shock", an interruption of the continuum of the historical narrative bounded in the cleavage "dictatorship/democracy". Conversely, such a shock overlaps the "doctrine of shock" of neoliberal order instituted by the Chilean dictatorship.

Counter-hegemonic narrative practices of Chilean students and other regional movements allow us to give account of a field of memory's ruptures and dislocations. In a literary register, I shall analyse -as "narrative symptoms"- two works contingent to the period. The first is the dramaturgic text "Las Analfabetas" (The Illiterate Women) of Pablo Paredes, and the second is novel "Formas de Volver a Casa" (Ways to Go Back to Home) of Alejandro Zambra. Both come together to diagnose, from different perspectives, the discomfort and malaise derived from a fragmented, discontinuous memory, envisioning thus new emergent subjectivities.

panel P19
Latin American cultural criticism today: new forms, new politics