Cristian Alvarado Leyton: Apropiación, Not Kinship Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo’s Resignification of Nurture against State Terror


This article discusses how resignifications of the human rights NGO “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” contributed to transformations of post-dictatorial culture. For decades hegemonic media and perpetrators engaged state terror’s reasoning to confront Abuelas’ call for “restitution” of the children who “disappeared” during the last dictatorship in Argentina. Drawing on both the junta’s self-appointed role of saviors and the benevolence of nurture, Catholic couples had thus rescued children from irresponsible “subversive” parents. In their struggle against state terror Abuelas’ metaphor apropiación resignified nurture as violence, pushing politico-cultural change towards a universal right to identity.

[Argentina, state terror, resistance, language and politico-cultural change, kinship]