Journal of Romance Studies

Humour and the descendants of the disappeared: Countersigning bloodline affiliations in post-dictatorial Argentina

Journal of Romance Studies (2013), 13, (3), 75–87.

Abstract

While it has been argued that the concept of postmemory does not accurately fit the specific situation of a new generation of local survivors in post-dictatorial Argentina, I contend that a critical engagement with postmemorial ruminations can still be productive to an understanding of the affective transmission of trauma beyond those who have been directly touched by violence. To explore this, this article focuses on the power of humour – often overlooked by classical studies on postmemory – to produce alternative forms of remembrance, which can circulate beyond bloodline affiliations. First, I show how the dark sense of the comical that permeated HIJOS, the organization founded by the Children of the Disappeared during the late 1990s, worked for the descendants as a collective strategy to cope with loss when legal justice was exempt from the political arena. Secondly, I draw upon Los topos (2008), a queer and insurgent novella written by Félix Bruzzone, to explore how its dark and bitter style ‘countersigns’ (in Derrida’s terms) bloodline ties while suggesting a more fluid entanglement among kinship, loss and political heritage. Ultimately, I contend that humour has not only provided a creative means of political empowerment for those who have been persistently constructed into victimizing narratives. Rather, it has become the surface and medium of an experience of iteration, displacement and contagion across expanded audiences.

Access Token
£25.00
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Andermann, Jens (2012) ‘Returning to the site of horror: the recovery of clandestine concentration camps in Argentina’, Theory, Culture and Society 29.1, 76–98. Returning to the site of horror: the recovery of clandestine concentration camps in Argentina Theory, Culture and Society 29.1 76 98 Google Scholar

Bergson, Henri (2008) Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (London: Manor). Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic Google Scholar

Bernini, Emilio (2010) ‘Una deriva queer de la pérdida. A propósito de Los topos’, No retornable (Buenos Aires), vol. 5, April, http://www.no-retornable.com.ar/v6/dossier (no pages). Google Scholar

Blackman, Lisa (2011) ‘Affect, performance and queer subjectivities’, Cultural Studies 25.2, 183–199. Affect, performance and queer subjectivities Cultural Studies 25.2 183 199 Google Scholar

Bruzzone, Félix, (2008) Los topos (Buenos Aires: Mondadori). Los topos Google Scholar

Butler, Judith (2004) Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London and New York: Verso). Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques (1999) ‘As if I were dead: an interview with Jacques Derrida’, in Applying: To Derrida, ed. John Brannigan, Ruth Robbins and Julian Wolfreys (London: Macmillan), 212–226. As if I were dead: an interview with Jacques Derrida Applying: To Derrida 212 226 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1974) ‘Humour’, in The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XXI (1927–1931), trans. James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson (London: Hogarth Press), 159–166. Humour The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud 159 166 Google Scholar

Hall, Stuart (1996) ‘Who dares, fails’, Soundings 3, 116–118. Who dares, fails Soundings 3 116 118 Google Scholar

Hacher, Sebastián (2012) Cómo enterrar a un padre desaparecido (Buenos Aires: Marea). Cómo enterrar a un padre desaparecido Google Scholar

Hirsch, Marianne (2008) ‘The generation of post-memory’, Poetics Today 29.1, 103–128. The generation of post-memory Poetics Today 29.1 103 128 Google Scholar

Hirsch, Marianne (2012) The Generation of Postmemory. Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust (New York: Columbia University Press). The Generation of Postmemory. Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust Google Scholar

Pérez, Mariana Eva (2012) Diario de una Princesa Montonera. 110% Verdad (Buenos Aires: Marea). Diario de una Princesa Montonera. 110% Verdad Google Scholar

Radstone, Susannah (2012) ‘Afterword: bringing memory home: location, theory, hybridity’, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2, 351–357. Afterword: bringing memory home: location, theory, hybridity Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2 351 357 Google Scholar

Sabsay, Leticia (2011) ‘The limits of democracy: transgender sex work and citizenship’, Cultural Studies 25.2, 213–229. The limits of democracy: transgender sex work and citizenship Cultural Studies 25.2 213 229 Google Scholar

Sarlo, Beatriz (2008) ‘Una condición de búsqueda’, Diario Perfil (7 December). Una condición de búsqueda Diario Perfil Google Scholar

Sosa, Cecilia (2011) ‘Queering acts of mourning in the aftermath of Argentina’s dictatorship: the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and Los Rubios (2003)’, in The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, eds V. Druliolle and F. Lessa (New York: Palgrave), 63–85. Queering acts of mourning in the aftermath of Argentina’s dictatorship: the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and Los Rubios (2003) The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay 63 85 Google Scholar

Sosa, Cecilia (2012) ‘Queering kinship. Performance of blood and the attires of memory’, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2, 221–233. Queering kinship. Performance of blood and the attires of memory Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2 221 233 Google Scholar

Vertsbisky, Horacio (2010) ‘La Inquisición’, Página 12 (11 July), http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-149246-2010-07-11.html [accessed 25 November 2012]. Google Scholar

Andermann, Jens (2012) ‘Returning to the site of horror: the recovery of clandestine concentration camps in Argentina’, Theory, Culture and Society 29.1, 76–98. Returning to the site of horror: the recovery of clandestine concentration camps in Argentina Theory, Culture and Society 29.1 76 98 Google Scholar

Bergson, Henri (2008) Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic (London: Manor). Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic Google Scholar

Bernini, Emilio (2010) ‘Una deriva queer de la pérdida. A propósito de Los topos’, No retornable (Buenos Aires), vol. 5, April, http://www.no-retornable.com.ar/v6/dossier (no pages). Google Scholar

Blackman, Lisa (2011) ‘Affect, performance and queer subjectivities’, Cultural Studies 25.2, 183–199. Affect, performance and queer subjectivities Cultural Studies 25.2 183 199 Google Scholar

Bruzzone, Félix, (2008) Los topos (Buenos Aires: Mondadori). Los topos Google Scholar

Butler, Judith (2004) Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London and New York: Verso). Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques (1999) ‘As if I were dead: an interview with Jacques Derrida’, in Applying: To Derrida, ed. John Brannigan, Ruth Robbins and Julian Wolfreys (London: Macmillan), 212–226. As if I were dead: an interview with Jacques Derrida Applying: To Derrida 212 226 Google Scholar

Freud, Sigmund (1974) ‘Humour’, in The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. XXI (1927–1931), trans. James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson (London: Hogarth Press), 159–166. Humour The Future of an Illusion, Civilization and its Discontents, and Other Works, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud 159 166 Google Scholar

Hall, Stuart (1996) ‘Who dares, fails’, Soundings 3, 116–118. Who dares, fails Soundings 3 116 118 Google Scholar

Hacher, Sebastián (2012) Cómo enterrar a un padre desaparecido (Buenos Aires: Marea). Cómo enterrar a un padre desaparecido Google Scholar

Hirsch, Marianne (2008) ‘The generation of post-memory’, Poetics Today 29.1, 103–128. The generation of post-memory Poetics Today 29.1 103 128 Google Scholar

Hirsch, Marianne (2012) The Generation of Postmemory. Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust (New York: Columbia University Press). The Generation of Postmemory. Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust Google Scholar

Pérez, Mariana Eva (2012) Diario de una Princesa Montonera. 110% Verdad (Buenos Aires: Marea). Diario de una Princesa Montonera. 110% Verdad Google Scholar

Radstone, Susannah (2012) ‘Afterword: bringing memory home: location, theory, hybridity’, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2, 351–357. Afterword: bringing memory home: location, theory, hybridity Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2 351 357 Google Scholar

Sabsay, Leticia (2011) ‘The limits of democracy: transgender sex work and citizenship’, Cultural Studies 25.2, 213–229. The limits of democracy: transgender sex work and citizenship Cultural Studies 25.2 213 229 Google Scholar

Sarlo, Beatriz (2008) ‘Una condición de búsqueda’, Diario Perfil (7 December). Una condición de búsqueda Diario Perfil Google Scholar

Sosa, Cecilia (2011) ‘Queering acts of mourning in the aftermath of Argentina’s dictatorship: the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and Los Rubios (2003)’, in The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, eds V. Druliolle and F. Lessa (New York: Palgrave), 63–85. Queering acts of mourning in the aftermath of Argentina’s dictatorship: the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and Los Rubios (2003) The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay 63 85 Google Scholar

Sosa, Cecilia (2012) ‘Queering kinship. Performance of blood and the attires of memory’, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2, 221–233. Queering kinship. Performance of blood and the attires of memory Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 21.2 221 233 Google Scholar

Vertsbisky, Horacio (2010) ‘La Inquisición’, Página 12 (11 July), http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-149246-2010-07-11.html [accessed 25 November 2012]. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Sosa, Cecilia