This project proposes an interdisciplinary, international and comparative analysis on the impact of the exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War in contemporary Spain, with the double aim of producing systematic scientific knowledge on the process fostering a deeper and critical understanding of this complex process of revisiting the traumatic past and, on the other hand, feed public debate with this scientific analysis. It starts with the hypothesis that these exhumations have been and continue to be crucial catalyzers of the current debates regarding the Civil War and ts legacy and, as a consequence of this, also the model of society to be imagined and built for the future from diverse social and political sensibilities.
With many positions in between, a main divide occurs between those prefering to ignore the process or do it discretely and move forward, and those defending the importance of a deep public debate with legislative and legal consequences in order to incease the quality of Spanish democracy. In this sense, the analysis of the impact of exhumations has a relevant diagnostic capacity to help us understand the current social, political and historical moment in contemporary Spain.
In order to do so, this project will first build up a systematic genealogy of the process of mass grave exhumations since the year 2000. The research team incoporates some of the scientists who, from their respective institutions, have collaborated and contine to collaborate on the ground with the so-called “associations fom the recovery of historical memory” (Etxeberria y Fondebrider as forensic anthropologists; Ferrándiz, del Río y Fernández de Mata as sociocultural anthropologists; Fouce as social psicologist), as well as participated in the management of ‘memory’ related public policies linked to the attention of victims´relatives, and the identification of dissapeared persons, the localization and institutional management of mass graves (Etxeberria—Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi; Solé i Barjau—Memorial Democràtic de Catalunya; del Río—proyectos Todos los nombres y Mapa de fosas).
In parallel, this project will elaborate an exhaustive catalogue of the impact of these exhumations in five interrelated buth metodologically isolable realms of social life:
- the concrete local contexts in which they are performed (Etxeberria, Ferrándiz, Fernández, Fouce, Fondebrider);
- the diverse discourses and initiatives in the political and associative arenas (Jerez, García, del Río, Robben);
- the judicial consequences in the national and international contexts (Pureza);
- the current debates in historiography (Solé); and the cultural industries and the mass media (Baer, Ferrándiz, Martín Cabrera).
To understand this complex process in comparative perspective, the project counts with the participation of researchers with very significant experience in the analysis of the contemporary recycling of the violent past in other parts of the world, particularly in Latin America.