Working through the violent past: Practices of restorative justice through memory and dialogue in Italy

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Abstract

From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Italy suffered a prolonged period of political violence and ideologically inspired terrorist acts, which caused deep social wounds and led to a sharply divided memory, as epitomized by the numerous memoirs written by former terrorists and victims since the end of the violence. This article explores the prevalent modes that have characterized these memoirs as well as instances of reconciliation and dialogue in the Italian context. It argues that some of these memoirs and above all a recent dialogue between former perpetrators and victims can be best viewed through the lenses of agonistic memory and reconciliation. The latter should not be conceived in terms of re-establishing a mythical harmonious and consensual society or constructing a single shared memory of the past. Rather, it requires former enemies to confront each other with their divided memories and perspectives in an open-ended manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages1-16
Number of pages16
Specialist publicationMemory Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Italy
  • agonism
  • dialogue
  • memory
  • reconciliation
  • terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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