"Already Having Forgotten:" Violence, Its Memory, and Political Identity in El Salvador

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Dunlap, Margaret
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University of the South Senior Honors Thesis , History Department, University of the South, honors thesis , El Salvador , Violence , Collective memory , El Salvador Civil War
El Salvador suffered from a brutal civil war from approximately 1980 until the signing of the Peace Accords in 1992. Civil war identities were formed by the incremental experience of violence, solidified by the post-conflict amnesty, and subsequently incorporated into a political landscape that persists today. While there is a pervasive sense that “the past is the past,” civil war identities continue to be salient determinants in political decision making for both voters and politicians. Through an examination of a series of interviews conducted by the author in 2013, supplemented by other primary and secondary sources, the argument is made that the polarization of current Salvadoran political identity is a result of past experiences of violence and the way past violence is collectively remembered.