Conflict, Memory, and Positioning: Studying the Dialogical and Multivoiced Dimension of the Basque Conflict

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Abstract

The aim of this paper was to bring the dialogical and multivoiced dimension of conflict to the fore in the study of how people remember a particular event in the past. Drawing from different case studies, it contains analyses of how subjects identifying with different political actors in the Basque conflict adopted their respective positions and interpretation of the conflict, and how, in light of same, they reconstruct the failed peace process that took place in 2006 between the terrorist group ETA (Euzkadi ta Azcatasuna, or Basque Country and Freedom in English) and the Spanish government. Results show that the positioning adopted by participants gives rise to a certain form of interpreting the conflict, which, in turn, affects how the peace process is remembered. This occurs within a particular argumentative context in which each version constitutes an implicit response to a competing interpretation of the peacemaking process. However, apart from this dialogical relationship between versions, we can also find an internal dialogicality within certain accounts of the peace process by which a dialogue between voices linked to different positions is established. The paper concludes with a discussion on the role of history teaching in promoting a more critical, reflexive, and pluralistic way of dealing with memory, and hence with conflict.

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