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Accepted Paper:

Basques' creative political engagement with visual production: independence beyond violence  


Julieta Gaztañaga (CONICET- University of Buenos Aires)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing from my ethnography with a contemporary democratic independentist Basque social movement, I examine the political imagination of visual production as sites of contestation, arguing they are more concerned with happiness and hope, rather than contesting violence and fear associated with ETA

Paper long abstract:

For at least half a century, Basque sociopolitics has been pictured through armed struggle and statehood desire, and Basque people banned from the possibility of imagining themselves outside a dreaded cycle of terror and violence -whether coming from ETA, the State (Spanish and French), or paramilitary forces. Scholarly research has abundantly addressed the connections between Basque nationalism and violence, focusing on a diverse range of topics such as the suffering of victims of terrorism, the experiences of Francoist repression, the local/daily techniques to deal with fear and suspicion, and even the affective impacts of images and related visual products produced by armed and non armed organizations concerning independence political struggle. Within the current Basque context of peace process that eventually led to ETA's disbanding, new conundrums have been posed for people engaged in self-determination claims: what happens when extreme and chronic violence is displaced to welfare, and to another region as Catalonia? How to produce new representations of independence not be confused with those of the violent past? Drawing from my ethnography with the members of a Basque social movement that has been claiming Basques' Right to Decide since 2013, I analyse the political imagination conveyed by their digital and audio-visual production as sites of contestation. I will argue that this grass-roots' way of visually provoking, notwithstanding looking forward to producing alternative images to those of ETA, is more concerned with how representing happiness and hope, rather than contesting violence and fear.

Panel P106
Provoking Visuals: Creative Engagements with Borders, Wars, and Conflicts [PACSA Network]