Argentina's partisan past : nationalism, Peronism and historiography, 1955-76
This PhD thesis is an inquiry into history as politics in Argentina from the overthrow of Peron to the military coup of 1976. Its main aim is to explain why and how a particular strand of nationalist historical writing (historical revisionism) conquered the public sphere in this period, so that by the 1970s its principal tenets had become almost common sense in the Argentines' understanding of their national past. For this purpose, the thesis contextualises the revisionist discourse in relation to, firstly, the intellectual field and, secondly, political developments, arguing that only a combination of cultural and political history allows us to account for the success of revisionism in influencing the collective historical consciousness. The principal primary sources on which the thesis relies are the publications of revisionists (both books and periodicals), militant periodicals, daily newspapers and institutional sources, in particular related to public education. Special emphasis is given to the conditions that underpinned the production and the public success of revisionist symbolic goods. In six chapters the thesis analyses the historical development of the relationship between the liberal and the nationalist view of history (1) the connection between contemporary debates about Peronism and the revisionist version of the past (2) the influence of Marxism (3) the cultural and political networks of revisionism (4) the Peronist appropriation of revisionist imagery (5) and the relationship between nationalist intellectuals and the state (6). From these points, the thesis derives broader conclusions about the relationship between politics, national identity and historical narratives by singling out the factors that contributed to such a strong politicisation of historiography under nationalist signs. Particularly stressed is the mutually reinforcing interplay between a profound crisis of political legitimacy, a fragile intellectual field and an uneven institutionalisation of historiography.