During the political violence of the Mexican dirty war of the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of people who had been considered internal enemies were disappeared by the military. Families of the disappeared started searching for them; organized in victims’ associations on a local, national, and transnational level; demanded truth and justice; and became important human rights actors in Mexico. Therein, the processes of dehumanization by state actors during the dirty war are responded to by processes of rehumanization by the families of the disappeared. Their fight for rehumanization comprises practices and discourses of memory such as the development of social memory groups, political rituals with representations and narratives about the disappeared, and the construction of memory places. In response to the political agency of victims, the government implemented transitional justice instruments. But within these processes, the multiple transitional frictions (as described by Alexander Hinton) between global norms and local realities of power became visible. Remembering the disappeared in Mexico is, rather, part of a countermemory than of the collective or national memory. I argue that the fight for rehumanization of the disappeared is a conflictive but important space of memory in Mexico that constantly challenges power holders and their interpretations of the past war and furthermore makes the liminality of transitional justice processes visible.


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pp. 727-748
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