La construcción discursiva de la responsabilidad civil durante una dictadura : Un análisis crítico de los discursos del juicio contra los excomandantes en Argentina en 1985

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this study is to explore how people who have experienced events in the past re-contextualize these same events in the present. We analyse the discourse of the public trial in 1985 against the members of the first three Argentine military juntas in the most recent dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). The study focuses on the discursive construction of civil responsibility. We examine the discourses of the witnesses that were called to testify at the trial by the defence attorneys of the accused Jorge Rafael Videla and Roberto Eduardo Viola, former de facto presidents of Argentina. The analysed testimonies concerned a specific event during the dictatorship, namely the meetings between the military junta and civil actors that were held in 1979 and 1980 with the declared purpose to create political dialogue between the military and selected parts of the civil society. Prior to the trial, these political dialogue meetings had not been considered to be particularly important in the history of the dictatorship, but the testimonies at the trial draw attention to the responsibility of civil actors in the crimes committed during the military dictatorship. In this study we investigate this theme in a novel way, focusing on the discursive tools used by civilians at the trial to explain their involvement in the dictatorship. We adopt the perspective of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL).To establish relationships between social and linguistic aspects, we include the concepts of intertextuality, discursive strategies, appraisal and legitimation. The main research questions are: 1) How do people represent linguistically a historical event when they find themselves in a new historical context? 1a) What discursive representation of the latest Argentinean dictatorship are made by the participants (witnesses, judge, defence and prosecutor) in the trial against the military junta leaders in 1985?; 1b) What intertextual influences are present in the interactants’ discourses during the interrogations, and in what way do these discourses contribute to legitimise the historical past?; 1c) What language resources do the civilian witnesses use to represent the Armed Forces and the armed rebel groups)? and 2) In what way do the witnesses reconstruct their role in the political dialogue meetings, or more specifically, what linguistic resources do the witnesses use to represent themselves in relation to the responsibility of civilians in the military dictatorship?The results show that the witnesses, in general, interpreted the recent past of Argentina using discourses that on the one hand condemned the violence caused by the armed rebel groups and on the other hand justified the interference of the Armed Forces. These discourses were used in the construction of a positive identity of both the witnesses as individuals and the institutions to which they belonged. Furthermore, their discourses legitimized their own actions, when these supported the Armed Forces in their “war on subversion”. The overwhelming majority of the witnesses tried to evade the questions meant to clarify their responsibility on the events of the dictatorship. Most of the witnesses, during the interrogation tried to find discursive strategies and linguistic resources that could hide their support to the Armed Forces during the regime and they did not reveal clearly their position regarding the military illegal actions during the dictatorship.

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