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The memory of militarism and the ‘value’ of resistance: an analysis of the Resistance Memorial of São Paulo

Tavares Furtado, Henrique



In the last 30 years, South American scholars and activists have produced a wealth of knowledge and representations practices concerning militarism and mass atrocities committed by the Armed Forces. Nonetheless, this body of work has been relatively neglected by debates in the field of Critical Military Studies (CMS). This paper attempts to bridge this gap by providing an analysis of the Resistance Memorial of São Paulo (RM-SP), a site inaugurated in 2009 in the former headquarters of the Brazilian political police. The analysis is based on short-term visits to the RM-SP in 2014 and 2018 and informal conversations with members of staff. The paper makes two central arguments: first, as a site of memory situated in the Global South and with strong links to survivors, the RM-SP invites radical accounts of political violence, pushing the boundaries of the concept of militarism beyond what is normally contemplated in CMS. Second, drawing on poststructuralist and post-Marxian critiques, the paper argues that the RM-SP is also a site of struggles; a space in which a radical narrative is held back by a certain language (a system of equivalences) that provides symbolic legitimacy to the present (neo)liberal order. On one hand, the RM-SP offers an intricate analysis of political violence that disturbs traditional liberal accounts of civic-military relations. On the other, its compelling representations of resistance are constantly threatened by the risk of commodification; the confusion between the values of past struggles and that which makes them exchangeable in the eyes of the present.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Critical Military Studies
Print ISSN 2333-7486
Electronic ISSN 2333-7494
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-21
APA6 Citation Tavares Furtado, H. (in press). The memory of militarism and the ‘value’ of resistance: an analysis of the Resistance Memorial of São Paulo. Critical Military Studies, 1-21.
Keywords Militarism, political violence, state terrorism, memory, transitional justice, resistance, Brazil
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: http://www.tandfonline....ope&journalCode=rcms20; Received: 2018-06-29; Accepted: 2020-02-06; Published: 2020-02-17


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