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Argentines’ collective memories of the military Junta of 1976: differences and similarities across generations and ideology

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Although memories about a nation's past usually are semantic in nature, a distinction needs to be made between lived and distant semantic collective memories. The former refers to memories of community-relevant events occurring during the lifetime of the rememberer, whereas the latter to memories of distant events. Does the content of lived and distant semantic collective memories differ? Employing both free and cued recall, we examined the memories of younger and older Argentines of the Military Junta of 1976. We also examined the effects of political ideology. Content analysis indicated that (1) lived semantic collective memories were more likely to contain personal recollections than distant semantic collective memories, even though those with distant semantic collective memories could have incorporated memories of the parent's personal experience in their recollections, (2) lived semantic collective memories contained more causal statements, and (3) those on the Right with distant semantic collective memories were more likely to claim that they “Don't know” or offer positive accounts of the Junta, suggesting a need to “defend” the reputation of those on the Right. The results are discussed in terms of the goals and plans different generations might have when recollecting their nation's past.
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Keywords: Collective memory; Distant semantic memory; Generations; Ideology; Lived semantic memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad de Belgrano - CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2: Universidad de Belgrano, Argentina 3: Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research, New York, USA

Publication date: August 8, 2016

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