Memory and Amnesia: The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy

By Paloma Aguilar; Mark Oakley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
REGARDING MEMORY, LEARNING
AND AMNESIA

The concept of collective memory involves numerous complexities. Below, with the help of the theoretical contributions of various authors and diverse currents of thought, I shall attempt to explain what is understood by this concept and observe its usefulness within the field of social science. As I stated in the introduction, in this research I aim to complement, and in some sense enrich, existing theories on transitional processes towards democracy by including a new element that I consider to be a key factor, especially in these processes of change. This element is the collective memory, which consists of the memory that a community possesses of its own history, as well as the lessons and learning which it more or less consciously extracts from that memory. This variable includes both the substance of that memory (recall of specific historical events) as well as values associated with their evocation (historical lessons and learning), which are modifiied, very often, by the vicissitudes of the present.

In studying the memory of the Civil War, the guardian of that memory is, effectively, collective, which does not mean that all of the persons who make up the same group have an equal factual memory of a particular historical episode. It is even quite common to come across individuals who have an autobiographical memory of the event in question, whilst others would only have an inherited or transmitted memory of that event. It is necessary, therefore, to tackle the added difficulty of the fact that individual memory and collective memory coexist in time, interrelate and mutually influence each other. We must also take into account the fact that different generational memories exist. Further-

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Memory and Amnesia: The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acronyms ix
  • Glossary xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Acknowledgements for the English Edition xv
  • Foreword for the English Edition xvi
  • Preface xviii
  • Chapter 1 - Regarding Memory, Learning and Amnesia 1
  • Chapter 2 - From the Justifiication of War to the Exaltation of Peace 29
  • Chapter 3 - The Memory of War and the Lessons of Peace in the Democratic Transition 149
  • Economic and Social Characteristics of the Transition 152
  • Conclusion 265
  • Bibliography 271
  • Tables 291
  • Graphs 313
  • Appendices 319
  • Index 324
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