Collective memories of political violence of health-care providers in Ayacucho, Perú

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The article presents a study about collective memories of the Internal Armed Conflict (IAC) in Peru (1980-2000) from the perspective of a group of health-care professionals providing services in the region that was most affected by political violence. A brief historical analysis of the IAC is presented. A qualitative design with 15 interviews based on Grounded Theory is used for analyzing the discourse of the participants, and accounting for collective memories of the conflict and the scares that the experience and memory of violence have left in the population and the health-care providers. The analysis focuses on four interrelated axes: (1) collective memories of conflict and its social and psychological consequences; (2) costs and benefits of narrating versus the costs of absence of narrating; (3) recovering memories as a way to overcome psychosocial trauma; and (4) direct experience, personal meanings and effects of exposure to victims’ stories on the health-care providers. Results suggest a scenario of unrelenting psychosocial effects and possible re-traumatization, both in those directly affected and, in the health-care professionals treating them. In addition, central to the participants’ discourse is the importance of acknowledging and claiming the right to construct the memory of the violent period as an act of justice, restoration, mental-health recovery, and strengthening of the social fabric.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-535
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social and Political Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Collective memory
  • Community mental health
  • Grounded theory
  • Political violence
  • Restoration


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