Remembering obedience and dissent: democratic citizenship and memorials to state violence in Australia and Argentina

Rodd, Robin (2019) Remembering obedience and dissent: democratic citizenship and memorials to state violence in Australia and Argentina. In: Penaloza, Fernanda, and Walsh, Sarah, (eds.) Mapping South-South Connections: Australia and Latin America. Studies of the Americas . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 263-294.

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Memorials to state violence can be read as cultural ledgers of what constitutes legitimate citizenship practice and acceptable citizen-state relations. I explore the significance of Argentinian and Australian memorials for understanding how past political action shapes a horizon of political possibility. Firstly, I examine how ANZAC memorials celebrate empire, obedience and the status quo. Here, there is a contrived unity of state and citizen that disappears questions of power, difference and dissent on which struggles for the expansion of citizenship in Australia and elsewhere have rested. ANZAC exists in a field of other memorials and cultural texts in Australia that negate politics and possibility for emancipation. Then, I discuss several Argentinian memorials that reflect the diversity of Argentina's politics of memory. Some memory spaces represent an open-ended view of the political process, while others are inseparable from a simplified dictatorship-democracy dichotomy. While questions of popular complicity in the state violence of the 1970s have yet to be memorialised, Argentine memorials nonetheless recognize the legitimacy of dissent as a basis of democratic citizenship. Finally, I draw out the significance of the comparison by discussing memorials in relation to theories of citizen agency. This problematizes the northwest-centric view of democracy as end, and reveals the importance of remembering challenges to power as a basis for ongoing democratization. Argentina's memory debates have created new dialogical networks spanning government and advocacy groups that have secured, momentarily at least, the right to claim rights and possibilities for agonistic memory. Australia's memorials, on the other hand, celebrate neither emancipatory struggles nor their proxies in rights, and are more in line with the contrived consensus characteristic of a securitarian state. Based on a comparison of memorials in relation to theories of democratic citizenship, Australia's political subjectivity is amenable to dedemocratization while Argentina's reflects the possibility of open-ended democratization.

Item ID: 49982
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-3-319-78576-9
Keywords: Australia, Argentina, memory museums, ANZAC, dissent, citizenship, democracy
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Copyright Information: (C) Springer Nature
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2020 02:37
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440107 Social and cultural anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940201 Civics and Citizenship @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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