Art and Remembering Traumatic Collective Events: The Case of the Spanish Civil War
Juanjo Igartua Dario Paez University of the Basque Country, Spain
This chapter examines the processes by which societies, using works of art, remember traumatic political events. These works of art, especially popular narrative forms such as films and novels, will play an important role in maintaining, reconstructing, and assimilating collective traumatic events such as the Spanish Civil War (SCW). It briefly summarizes what some classical authors in the field of collective memory have stated about the processes involved in forgetting, maintaining, and reconstructing this memory. Later, the chapter discusses the "natural history" of forgetting, remembering, and reconstructing traumatic events. In order to do so, it focuses analysis first on Japan and its official history concerning World War II, and second on the war in Algeria and the French films on this issue, and finally on the SCW and the films and novels that have portrayed this event. In the specific case of Spain, a more detailed, systematic, and quantitative analysis on the Civil War is included. All these results allow the study to partially confirm the existence of memory cycles every 25 years. The chapter also investigates how the contents of these films have evolved over time. Finally, it empirically shows that exposure to entertainment films with a de-dramatization and relativity content will congruently affect the beliefs and attitudes toward the Civil War.
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Publication information: Book title: Collective Memory of Political Events:Social Psychological Perspectives. Contributors: James W. Pennebaker - Editor, Dario Paez - Editor, Bernard Rimé - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 79.