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  • 2018BaileyPhD

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'So that all shall know': memorialising Guatemala's disappeared

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2018
Number of pages316
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Between 1960 – 1996, civil war waged in Guatemala. During the conflict an estimated 45,000 people were disappeared, abducted from their homes, public streets, and buildings by members of the military, the National Police force, and government sanctioned death squads, and never seen again. Owing to the clandestine nature of this form of violence, families of the disappeared were left in a perpetual state of uncertainty, not knowing where their loved ones had been taken or if they were still alive. Following the end of the conflict, little was done by governments to try and answer these questions or to recover the remains of the disappeared. Those who had power and influence during the civil war, both individuals and institutions, largely maintained their status in its aftermath and chose to forget the past rather than discuss it. This thesis examines how, in light of the liminal status of the disappeared and the absence of a meaningful regime change, the disappeared have been memorialised in post-conflict Guatemala. This thesis discusses a variety of forms of memorial, focussing on those created by individuals and groups who believe the violence of the past should be remembered. It identifies a number of recurring themes - Contest, Recover, Informing, and Grief - that exist in these memorials for the disappeared, and explores how and why they have been expressed.