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On victims and heroes: Spatial referents and social models in self-representation of the anti-Franco workers movement

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In this article I suggest that individual memory is selective causing gaps in collective memory that need to be analysed and interpreted in order to understand how communities shape their past. I will illustrate my argument by presenting autobiographical accounts of different members of the anti-Franco workers movement in the 1960s and 1970s in Spain. Here, the use of self-representation as a means to explain the past poses some problems. In the first place, the history of the anti-Franco movement will have to broaden its focus in order to fully understand how the opposition's memory is constructed and reconstructed in all its complexity. Secondly, what gives meaning to a witness account are the spatial references and references to social models that determine what is memorable and what is not, as well as defining the heroes and the victims. Omissions are likely. More recently, however, with an increasing number of autobiographical accounts appearing alongside an increasingly significant historiography, it is possible to see how they mutually affect, often in unrecognized ways, memory and history in the construction of their narratives about the past.
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Keywords: anti-Franco workers movement; private memories autobiographical narrative; public memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universidad Autnoma de Barcelona.

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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