Memory struggles in Chile 45 years after the coup. A Critical Discourse Analysis on the role of the press.

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: This Degree Project (DP) deals with the discourses about collective memory in Chile 45 years after a coup d’état that gave way to a dictatorship that lasted for 17 years, during which serious human rights violations were committed. How different actors relate to this traumatic period shows how this is a field of struggle in contemporary Chile. Collective memory has become a key theoretical concept for describing how social groups make sense of their common past. It is deeply entrenched with notions of identity, agency and change. Whereas collective memory is an abstract notion, it has to be somehow concretized in order to allow individuals to activate their own memories, opinions and reactions. Thus, media play a fundamental role in the construction of collective memory. Drawing on a constructivist approach, media are not fixed containers of memories but they actually work on how people perceive their past in relation to the present and the future. This (DP) focuses on the following questions: How do media contribute to the construction of the collective memory around the coup d’état and the military dictatorship in Chile? What are the discourses they diffuse and to what end? Which are the other counter-hegemonic discourses available in the Chilean society? In order to answer these questions, this DP uses a Critical Discourse Analysis of of the two main Chilean newspapers (La Tercera and El Mercurio) complemented with interviews to memory agents. The conclusions point out that these newspapers have a role in diffusing as well as constructing hegemonic discourses around this period of the Chilean history. They do so, mainly by silencing the voices of the civil society making their goals of social change difficult to achieve.

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