How Did the Shift in Chilean Cultural Memory Between 1988 to 1998 Become Politically Salient for International Human Rights?

How did the shift in Chilean cultural memory between 1988 to 1998 become politically salient for international human rights? These dates are significant because 1988 was when the Pinochet dictatorship ended, and 1998 is when Pinochet was caught in London, which was a landmark moment for international human rights. Cultural memory as defined here involves how Chileans looked back on the past, individually and collectively, and the cultural productions of that period that represent this remembering. At the same time, the shift in cultural memory in this period reflects changes occurring in memory at an individual level. Psychological and philosophical models will be used to understand how people cope with the traumas of the past and how this impacts transition. Shifts in cultural memory also reveal the political shifts of the period. What does living together after conflict, or as it was called in Chile, convivencia, imply in terms of processing memory on a societal level? How do different narratives of the past gain political salience through democratization post-conflict? This is about what society becomes in light of traumas. This will be measured by evaluating how various significant cultural productions characterized the past and how these frameworks transformed political structures. Of course there are limitations to studying these cultural productions because they cannot reflect the entirety of the cultural landscape in Chile. However, these have been selected based on which have been lauded as significant by the international community and therefore represent the link between changes in Chilean cultural and international human rights as culturally memory became politically salient. The fact that these particular cultural productions were deemed significant by the international community can be evidenced by the discussion of these by commentators from other countries, particularly in the west. These cultural productions also relate to the changes in attitude towards IV human rights that occurred internationally. The idea of universal jurisdiction in human rights became more accepted. Thus, this project is a holistic investigation of how historical shifts occurred at the end of the Pinochet dictatorship insofar as it is an exploration of the psychological, philosophical, cultural, and political elements of these changes. By presenting and analyzing these elements, I hope to demonstrate how these changes came about. Though this is a case study of a particular historical instance, I imagine that holistic approach, if revelatory in this instance, could be a useful way of considering other cases of postdictatorial and transitioning states. Further, some patterns may emerge when criticizing pre-existing psychological, philosophical, cultural, and political models for understanding memory in transitioning states. Though these discoveries will be particular to postdictatorial Chile, it may be instrumental to adapt these modes of understanding more critically to other instances. In a more abstract sense, this is a glimpse of how society comes apart and then together….Read more

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