Accounting for Violence

Marketing Memory in Latin America

Accounting for Violence

The Cultures and Practices of Violence

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Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: 25 photographs Published: August 2011

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Politics

Accounting for Violence offers bold new perspectives on the politics of memory in Latin America. Scholars from across the humanities and social sciences provide in-depth analyses of the political economy of memory in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, countries that emerged from authoritarian rule in the 1980s and 1990s. The contributors take up issues of authenticity and commodification, as well as the “never again” imperative implicit in memory goods and memorial sites. They describe how bookstores, cinemas, theaters, the music industry, and television shows (and their commercial sponsors) trade in testimonial and fictional accounts of the authoritarian past; how tourist itineraries have come to include trauma sites and memorial museums; and how memory studies has emerged as a distinct academic field profiting from its own journals, conferences, book series, and courses. The memory market, described in terms of goods, sites, producers, marketers, consumers, and patrons, presents a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, commodifying memory potentially cheapens it. On the other hand, too little public exposure may limit awareness of past human-rights atrocities; such awareness may help to prevent their recurring.

Contributors. Rebecca J. Atencio, Ksenija Bilbija, Jo-Marie Burt, Laurie Beth Clark, Cath Collins, Susana Draper, Nancy Gates-Madsen, Susana Kaiser, Cynthia E. Milton, Alice A. Nelson, Carmen Oquendo Villar, Leigh A. Payne, José Ramón Ruisánchez Serra, Maria Eugenia Ulfe


“[T]he sum of the individual analyses in the volume signals important new methods and directions for the field of memory studies. This book is sure to have a decisive impact on scholars researching political violence, memory, forgetting, and commodification throughout the world.” — Macarena Gomez-Barris, American Historical Review

“I am grateful to the editors of Accounting for Violence for assembling these engrossing and informative articles…. By providing and analyzing examples, both good and bad, Accounting for Violence contributes to a better awareness of the dangers and a more sophisticated understanding of what is at stake.” — Teresa Goodwin Phelps, Human Rights Quarterly

"The book coheres well, and its individual contributions are superb. . . . [It] has intervened into an increasingly lively debate among memory scholars and practitioners."  — Kristen Weld, Latin American Research Review

“In the case of Accounting for Violence, the broad range of cases explored in the chapters is both sobering and inspiring. Moreover, the volume’s excellent conclusion unites the chapters and raises larger questions, urging students and scholars alike to participate in the debate on the pressing concerns put forward by its contributors.” — Katrien Klep, Journal of Latin American Studies

Accounting for Violence is a path-breaking book. Its topic is important, fascinating, and new to Latin American studies, where scholarship on memory has tended to concentrate on the vexations of acknowledging past violence; the travails of inscribing such events in legal, political, and social institutions; and, more recently, issues related to public space. Encompassing literature, history, advertising, cultural studies, philosophy, fashion, and television, Accounting for Violence ushers in a new wave of post-trauma scholarship.” — Marguerite Feitlowitz, author of A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture

“This is an innovative, remarkable exploration of themes related to memory in postdictatorial Latin American societies. Incorporating the best scholarship on the topic, the contributors to Ksenija Bilbija’s and Leigh A. Payne’s collection reframe memory within a market economy where remembrances are advertised, appropriated, and commodified. This is a truly interdisciplinary work, spanning the study of literature, film, testimonials, and urban space. It will certainly be a reference in the field for years to come.” — Idelber Avelar, author of The Untimely Present: Postdictatorial Latin American Fiction and the Task of Mourning


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ksenija Bilbija is Professor of Spanish and Director of the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Leigh A. Payne is Professor of Sociology and Latin American studies at the University of Oxford and Visiting Professor of Political Science and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword: On Memory and Memorials / Luisa Valenzuela, translated by Catherine Jagoe ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction. Time is Money: The Memory Market in Latin America / Ksenija Bilbija and Leigh A. Payne 1

A Prime Time to Remember: Memory Merchandising in Globo's Anos Rebeldes / Rebecca J. Atencio 41

Accounting for Murder: The Contested Narratives of Life and Death of María Elena Moyano / Jo-Marie Burt 69

Trauma Tourism in Latin America / Laurie Beth Clark and Leigh A. Payne 99

The Business of Memory: Reconstructing Torture Centers as Shopping Malls and Tourist Sites / Susana Draper 127

Marketing and Sacred Space: The Parque de la Memoria in Buenos Aries / Nancy Gates-Madsen 151

Reading '68: The Tlatelolco Memorial and Gentrification in Mexico City / José Ramón Ruisánchez Serra 179

Promoting Peru: Tourism and Post-Conflict Memory / Cynthia Milton and Maria Eugenia Ulfe 207

The Moral Economy of Memory: Public and Private Commemorative Space in Post-Pinochet Chile / Cath Collins 235

Dress for Success: Fashion, Memory, and Media Representation of Augusto Pinochet / Carmen Oquendo Villar 265

Tortured by Fashion: Making Memory through Corporate Advertising / Ksenija Bilbija 291

Memory Inventory: The Production and Consumption of Memory Goods in Argentina / Susana Kaiser 313

Conclusion. Marketing Discontent: The Political Economy of Memory in Latin America / Alice A. Nelson 339

Bibliography 365

Contributors 381

Index 385
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5042-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5025-5
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