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

By Paloma Aguilar; Mark Oakley | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

With this book I have attempted to underline the important role that is played by the historical memory of groups, as well as the subsequent lessons that are derived from that memory, in processes of political change. In the first chapter I tried to delimit and define the concept of 'historical memory' and to link it to the concept of 'political learning'. The extraordinarily complex nature of memory, which is subject to constant changes and ongoing fuctuations that may not always be consciously controlled, may have contributed to the lack of clear and concise definitions within academic literature. These unconscious and fluctuating elements of historical memory are the ones that distinguish it most from 'historical consciousness'.

The study of collective memory requires an analysis of those media through which memory is transmitted and preserved, of those moments that activate a certain kind of memory and not others, and of the kinds of lessons that tend to be linked to the activation of this memory. The concepts of 'memory' and 'learning' are inseparable, which obviously does not mean that the appropriate lessons are always derived from past experiences.

According to the view proposed in this research, the past is not immutable, but neither can it be created nor recreated freely from the present. History may be perverted to an extraordinary degree under some régimes, as was the case with the history of the Civil War under the Franco régime, but alternative readings always emerge as authoritarian régimes become more liberal and, in particular, as democracies are instated or reinstated.

It is true that the interests of the present oblige us to focus on one particular reading of the past and not another, but this does not mean that the history of countries can be shaped at will. What does sometimes

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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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