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A psychosocial interpretation of political violence: Chile 1970–1973

Palacios, Margarita (2011) A psychosocial interpretation of political violence: Chile 1970–1973. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society 16 (3), pp. 244-260. ISSN 1088-0763.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/pcs.2010.21

Abstract

The military coup of 1973 is the most important event in Chilean history of the 20th century. Thus far it has been explained only in political and economic terms, and, therefore, violence has been understood as strategic. Understanding the cruelty, indiscriminate torture and body mutilations of the coup, however, requires a different analytical perspective. On the basis of a discourse analysis of the Chilean press during the years that preceded the coup, and using the psychoanalytic concept of fantasy, I put forth a psychosocial interpretation in which subjectivity, desire and the limits of the social are central. My research has led me to conclude that anti-Communism and the violence that followed the coup, more than expressing a political and economic conflict, condensed a deeper dynamic of fear and hatred: fear of social disintegration – associated with the feminization of Chilean society – and hatred of the disavowed aspects of Chilean identity. The brutality of the violence aimed not only to repress left-wing political activists, but also to ‘extirpate from the Chilean soul’ a devil that was destroying the nation, to punish a society for having allowed this to happen, and to restore a patriarchal social order.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): political violence, anti-Communism, fantasy, Latin America, psychosocial studies
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2011 11:13
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:22
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4494

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