Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Silvia Dapía

Committee Members

Fernando Degiovanni

Isolina Ballesteros

Susana Draper

Fernando Rosenberg

Subject Categories

Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Literature | Modern Literature | Other Film and Media Studies


Transitional Justice, Affect, Latin America, Democratic Transition, Argentina, Literature and Films


This dissertation analyzes the links between justice and affect in some of the most emblematic texts of the democratic transition in Argentina. Films, novels and photos are incorporated here as texts or complex utterances, as they constitute a framework of signs with a communicative intention that makes sense in a given context. In order to analyze these links, I consider terms from the field of transitional justice (reconciliation, forgiveness, restoration) and specific affects (terror, empathy, guilt, resentment, tenderness, happiness and cruelty).

The key questions guiding this thesis are: what links did visual arts and literature have in relation to the idea of justice defended by each government? To what extent can these works be read as symbolic reparations and what connections can be established among them? What is the place of art and affection when it comes to restorative justice?

At the same time, in the analysis of the links between affection and justice, I distinguish three stages, three different moments of the transition, divided according to the presidential periods and the drastic changes that each government raised in relation to the so-called “politics of memory”; I focus on the affective terms that were generated and the different ideas of justice that were proposed from both politics and cultural products.

The first period is then framed by the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín (1983-1989), the first democratic government after the dictatorship. In this first part, “From terror to compassion,” I analyze Rodolfo Fogwill's novel from 1983 Los pichiciegos (Malvinas Requiem) and Luis Puenzo's film from 1985 La historia oficial (The Official Story), focusing particularly on the dialogue that these works had with the policies proposed by the government of that time.

The second period, “From Indignation to Resistance,” includes the two presidencies of Carlos Saul Menem (1989-1999). Taking into account, in particular, the consequences of the paradigm of forgiveness (presidential pardons) and the implementation of the neoliberal model, I analyze two of the works of this period: Alejandro Agresti's film Buenos Aires Vice Versa (1996) and Marcelo Brodsky's photo essay Good Memory (1997).

The third and last period is framed by the presidencies of Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández (2007-2015), given the continuity of their policies in relation to human rights. In this section, I examine how the passage “from pain to joy” took place, especially considering four works: Julián López's novel Una muchacha muy bella (2014), Benjamín Ávila's movie Infancia clandestina (Clandestine Childhood) (2012), Mariana Eva Perez's book Diario de una proncesa montonera (2012) and Lola Arias' play Mi vida después (My Life After) (2009).

Lastly, I argue that both emotions influenced the processes of justice (Elster) as well as judicial measures set off specific social affects during the transition. This interaction or counterpoint, I claim, appears reflected, discussed, confronted in the cultural production of the period in question.