What We Remember

The construction of memory in military discourse

Mariana Achugar | Carnegie Mellon University
ISBN 9789027206176 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027289957 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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This interdisciplinary monograph explores the discursive manifestations of the conflict over how to remember and interpret the actions of the military during the last dictatorship in Uruguay (1973-1985). Through the exploration of the discursive ways in which this powerful group represents past events and participants, we can trace the ideological struggle over how to reconstruct a traumatic past. By looking at memory as a social and discursive practice, the analysis identifies particular semiotic practices and linguistic patterns deployed in the construction of memory. The discursive description of what is remembered, how it is remembered, and who remembers serves to explain how the institution’s construction of the past is transformed and maintained to respond to outside criticism and create an institutional identity as a lawful state apparatus. This book should interest discourse analysts, historians, sociologists and researchers in the field of transitional justice.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Some memories fade away; other stick around, haunting future generations. What we Remember addresses the struggles over amnesty, responsibility and reconciliation in relation to Uruguayan military discourse. Achugar's readings provide an engaging account of these struggles, skillfully demonstrating in the process how CDA and SFL analysis inform one another. Writing as the daughter of exiled Uruguayan leftists, she provides an illuminating, and potentially exorcising exploration of a dictatorship whose legacy has far from gone away.”
“This book is thought-provoking for people interested in the study of memory recollection, and/or the study of discursive practices. Both issues are thoroughly covered - and connected - in the book. This is the key positive aspect of this book, where we get some insight into the process of memory construction, and its discursive connection with the context in which discursive practices are produced and the common knowledge shared by social actors involved in them. [...] The book's organisation is worth praising. The diachronic study that is presented in the analysis is not only useful in order to understand recent Uruguayan history - and its discursive representation - but also to get a grasp of discursive change throughout time . [...] This book is not only an interesting reading because of what it offers and the knowledge we get from it, but also because of the new lines of research it opens up. The connection between discourse and memory, the importance of the context in which they are produced, and the people to whom those recollections about the past are addressed offers the possibility of creating a taxonomy of types of memory which can be classified by taking the variables considered in the analysis in this book, i.e. genre, situational context and addressees.”
“This book by Dr. Mariana Achugar is a unique contribution to historical and ideological discourse studies. First of all because military discourse is hardly ever analyzed in our field, despite the fact that the military not only fight and kill, but also talk, especially when they want to obfuscate or legitimate their abuses. Secondly, her work is important because of the study of the triple interface between discourse, social cognition (memory and forgetting) and politics of the nation state. Thirdly, Dr. Achugar is relevant for discourse studies more generally because of her systematic analysis of argumentation strategies, actor representation and other properties of text and talk. And finally, and perhaps most dramatically, this book offers a linguistic portrait of some of the main actors of the darkest episodes of recent Latin American history: the military dictatorships of the 20th century.”
“The discourse on the past is a discourse that is under continuous construction and, therefore, cannot be seen as a closed discourse. In countries with totalitarian pasts, a part of the rehabilitation claims raised by the victims have not yet been met. Therefore, it is important that in this book Mariane Achugar has contributed to the analysis of the manipulations of the past.”
“Achugar's project makes a fine contribution to the series and will engage all who are interested in the discursive dimensions of memory construction, the theory and application of systemic functional linguistic (SFL) and critical discourse analysis (CDA), military discourse, and the specific case of the Uruguayan dictatorship's human rights abuses. [...] Achugar provides an engaged yet dispassionate account of how the sociocultural memory of Uruguay's difficult past was discursively produced, contested, and transformed. Her work seeks not to render a partisan judgment about the military's actions but to expose the logic underlying those actions. In this way, her work will prove immensely valuable to scholars seeking to understand, and intervene in, the discursive aspects of social and political struggles.”
“This monograph stands as a testament to the important role of discourse analysis in the realm of history and in particular with respect to contested histories and the historical progression of memory. Achugar’s work is a noteworthy contribution to the field of critical discourse analysis in which linguistic analysis serves to make claims in the social realm. It is a disciplined study, chock-full of pertinent pieces of a nation’s history and its continual struggle to make sense of the voices of the past within the present.”
Cited by

Cited by 36 other publications

Achugar, Mariana
2009. Constructing the past and constructing themselves: the Uruguayan military's memory of the dictatorship. Critical Discourse Studies 6:4  pp. 283 ff. DOI logo
Basarati, Ali
2022. Preempting the past: How the future space unfolds in political discourse of Iran. Discourse & Society 33:2  pp. 129 ff. DOI logo
Bietti, Lucas M.
2011. The commemoration of March 24th, 1976. Journal of Language and Politics 10:3  pp. 347 ff. DOI logo
Castro, Claudia & Teresa Oteíza
2022. Historical explanations in the Rettig Report: The role of interpersonal grammatical metaphors. Discourse & Society 33:5  pp. 581 ff. DOI logo
Duncan, Philip T.
2014. REMEMBERING THE FUTURE. Critical Discourse Studies 11:4  pp. 416 ff. DOI logo
Dunmire, Patricia L.
2012. Political Discourse Analysis: Exploring the Language of Politics and the Politics of Language. Language and Linguistics Compass 6:11  pp. 735 ff. DOI logo
Esposito, Eleonora, Carolina Pérez-Arredondo & José Manuel Ferreiro
2019. Introduction. In Discourses from Latin America and the Caribbean,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Flowerdew, John
2016. A historiographical approach to Hong Kong Occupy. Journal of Language and Politics 15:5  pp. 527 ff. DOI logo
Flowerdew, John
2017. Understanding the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement: A critical discourse historiographical approach. Discourse & Society 28:5  pp. 453 ff. DOI logo
Flowerdew, John & John E. Richardson
2017. Introduction. In The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Gavins, Joanna
2009. The year’s work in stylistics 2008. Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics 18:4  pp. 367 ff. DOI logo
Gavriely-Nuri, Dalia
2014. Collective memory as a metaphor: The case of speeches by Israeli prime ministers 2001–2009. Memory Studies 7:1  pp. 46 ff. DOI logo
Gavriely-Nuri, Dalia & Einat Lachover
2012. Reframing the Past as a Cosmopolitan Memory: Obituaries in the Israeli Daily Haaretz. Communication Theory 22:1  pp. 48 ff. DOI logo
Gjevori, Elvin
2018. A New Account of Institutionalisation. In Democratisation and Institutional Reform in Albania,  pp. 53 ff. DOI logo
Karam, Fares J., Amanda K. Kibler, Amber N. Warren & Zinnia Shweiry
2023. ‘Beirut you will rise again’. Linguistic Landscape. An international journal 9:2  pp. 133 ff. DOI logo
McIntosh, Janet
2021. Language and the Military: Necropolitical Legitimation, Embodied Semiotics, and Ineffable Suffering. Annual Review of Anthropology 50:1  pp. 241 ff. DOI logo
Pascual, Mariana
2014. La asociación de recursos de valoración: el caso de las organizaciones de derechos humanos en la prensa escrita argentina. Onomázein Revista de lingüística filología y traducción :1  pp. 99 ff. DOI logo
Perez, Carolina
Prendergast, Muireann
2020. Witnessing in the echo chamber: From counter-discourses in print media to counter-memories of Argentina’s state terrorism. Memory Studies 13:6  pp. 1036 ff. DOI logo
2011. Transitional Justice and Protracted Accountability in Re-democratised Uruguay, 1985–2011. Journal of Latin American Studies 43:4  pp. 693 ff. DOI logo
Ruiz, Marcela & Oriana Bernasconi
2019. Reports on categorization and classification of human rights violations in Chile (1974–1978). Discourse & Society 30:1  pp. 44 ff. DOI logo
Simmons, Amber M. & Ruth Harman
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Su, Boyang
2021. Book review: John Flowerdew, Critical Discourse Analysis in Historiography: The Case of Hong Kong’s Evolving Political Identity. Discourse Studies 23:6  pp. 802 ff. DOI logo
Taboada, Maite, Marta Carretero & Jennifer Hinnell
2014. Loving and hating the movies in English, German and Spanish. Languages in Contrast 14:1  pp. 127 ff. DOI logo
Taboada, Maite, Marta Carretero & Jennifer Hinnell
2016. Loving and hating the movies in English, German and Spanish. In Genre- and Register-related Discourse Features in Contrast [Benjamins Current Topics, 87],  pp. 127 ff. DOI logo
Van de Putte, Thomas
2022. “Let me tell you what we already know”: Collective memory between culture and interaction. Memory Studies 15:4  pp. 751 ff. DOI logo
van Roekel, Eva
2018. Anthropological reflections on violence and time in Argentina. In Time and Temporality in Transitional and Post-Conflict Societies,  pp. 65 ff. DOI logo
Vitale, María Alejandra
2022. Usages du passé et rhétorique de la demande de pardon en politique. Argumentation et analyse du discours :29 DOI logo
Vázquez Ahumada, Andrea & Deniss Guerra Vázquez
2022. El tránsito de la memoria al memoriar, de la identidad a la identificación en los discursos. La resemiotización de la película México Industrial 1923. Culturas. Revista de Gestión Cultural 9:1  pp. 90 ff. DOI logo
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Wodak, Ruth & John E. Richardson
2009. On the politics of remembering (or not). Critical Discourse Studies 6:4  pp. 231 ff. DOI logo
Šarić, Ljiljana
[no author supplied]
2013. Systemic Functional Linguistics. In Framing Languages and Literacies,  pp. 34 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 17 june 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Communication Studies

Communication Studies

Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2008028908 | Marc record