Restitution or revolution? Kinship and the state in the politics of human rights in Argentina
(Goldsmiths, University of London)
Paper short abstract:
Focusing on the disappeared of Argentina’s dirty war this paper explores contrasting claims made to the state that simultaneously reproduce and contest hegemonic notions of the family, responsibility and value. Different notions of kinship inform contrasting visions of politics, revolution and the state.
Paper long abstract:
Focusing on the case of the disappeared during Argentina's dirty war, rendered visible through the actions of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo over a period of thirty years, this paper explores claims made vis-a-vis the state that simultaneously draw on and contest hegemonic notions of the family, responsibility and value. While the implementation of new technologies for the isolation, storage and identification of DNA have enabled human rights groups and relatives of the disappeared to reconstitute family ties and articulate claims against the state in terms of loss and compensation, other sections of the human rights movement aim to dissolve claims based on individual connection in favour of collective solutions. The subsumption of individual ties by claims that emphasize the 'socialization of motherhood' and kinship, is deemed to provide a basis for an open-ended political discourse of collective claims about the past and the future that recasts the vision of a revolutionary alternative to contemporary society. The paper argues that these different strategies, which reconstitute, reflect or redefine the realm of kinship also redefine the contours of the political and propose different relationships with the state.
Kinning the state - state kinning: reconnecting the anthropology of kinship and political anthropology