For decades, Argentina's population was subject to human rights
violations ranging from the merely disruptive to the abominable.
Violence pervaded Argentine social and cultural life in the
repression of protest crowds, a ruthless counterinsurgency
campaign, massive numbers of abductions, instances of torture, and
innumerable assassinations. Despite continued repression, thousands
of parents searched for their disappeared children, staging street
protests that eventually marshaled international support.
Challenging the notion that violence simply breeds more violence,
Antonius C. G. M. Robben's provocative study argues that in
Argentina violence led to trauma, and that trauma bred more
In this work of superior scholarship, Robben analyzes the
historical dynamic through which Argentina became entangled in a
web of violence spun out of repeated traumatization of political
adversaries. This violence-trauma-violence cycle culminated in a
cultural war that "disappeared" more than ten thousand people and
caused millions to live in fear. Political Violence and Trauma
in Argentina demonstrates through a groundbreaking multilevel
analysis the process by which different historical strands of
violence coalesced during the 1970s into an all-out military
assault on Argentine society and culture.
Combining history and anthropology, this compelling book rests on
thorough archival research; participant observation of mass
demonstrations, exhumations, and reburials; gripping interviews
with military officers, guerrilla commanders, human rights leaders,
and former disappeared captives. Robben's penetrating analysis of
the trauma of Argentine society is of great importance for our
understanding of other societies undergoing similar crimes against
Subjects: Political Science
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