Memorialising Absence: visual representations of the disappeared within family structures in post-dictatorship Argentina

Coldwell, Chloe Alice (2021) Memorialising Absence: visual representations of the disappeared within family structures in post-dictatorship Argentina. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.


This thesis examines the ways in which the victims of forced disappearance have been represented in visual media by their family members, as well as the generational social justice movements which formed in response to the most recent Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983). Since the formation of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo group, other relatives of the disappeared have come together to protest the state violence which occurred during this period, and visual media have been key elements of their work. This study therefore discusses a range of these visual works, including the photography and art used by the mothers during their protest, the photographic essays by Marcelo Brodsky, the photographic projects of Lucila Quieto, and the documentaries created by Nicolás Prividera.

As its core objectives, this study aims to give a multi-generational view of the impact of the disappearances on the idea of family, working down the family structure and ending with a contemporary update on the issues faced by each generation. Furthermore, it seeks to address notions of complex mourning and remembering, investigating how visual media have been used by the relatives to express their experiences. The multi-generational approach has afforded this study the ability to observe common concepts between the groups with regard to remembering the disappeared, as well as the opportunity to explore how kinship bonds have continued to be altered by the disappearances. In summary, this thesis asks, how have the relatives of the disappeared continued to address absence and in what ways have visual media assisted them in their process of remembering?

The results of this study show that the reimagining, queering, and politicising of kinship roles in response to state violence have continued to influence the ways in which new generations interact with the disappeared, with analysis of Quieto’s and Prividera’s works demonstrating their ongoing interpretation of the societal expectations of them as hijos/as. Furthermore, this thesis highlights the common themes and motivations occurring throughout the visual media used and created by each generation, such as the blending of private and public realms; attempts to use visual media to individualise the disappeared and dispel the military idea of a faceless, subversive enemy; as well as a desire to keep the disappeared visually present in society, so as to heighten public awareness and prolong their memory into the future.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Due to copyright issues this thesis is not available for viewing.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Hispanic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Heise, Dr. Tatiana and McCarthy, Dr. Eamon
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82597
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 10:10
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2022 09:07
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82597

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