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Wars, Memories and Nationhood in Spanish America. The Paraguayan War (1864-1870) and the War of the Pacific (1879-1883)

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In the last two decades, the study of war has substantially renewed. The field of war and society studies has implied a shift from conventional military and diplomatic studies of conflicts to focusing on conflicts' social and cultural impact, especially in processes such as forming collective identities. The collective mobilisation of society, the systematic socialisation of nationalist discourses, the establishment of boundaries - real or fictitious - in the communities in dispute through processes of ethnicisation of differences and the sedimentation of collective memories are key aspects of this problem. This dossier takes up this debate based on the Paraguayan War (1864-1870) and the War of the Pacific (1879-1883). These wars involved a broad social mobilisation to complete the military cadres, implied an active participation of civil society to sustain the war effort, and fostered narratives denigrating the adversary and celebrating national identity.


Central Dossier



Theory and debate