Memorializing forced migration and beyond. Commemorating Salvador Allende in Barcelona as memory-work in the context of civic memory and the politics of belonging
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This paper argues that streets and squares performing commemorative events in relation to their assigned names could be seen as sites of memory. It focuses on how in these urban landmarks memories and legacies of exile could be addressed using public places as memorywork in the context of civic memory. To support these conclusions, I will analyse Barcelona’s square named after Salvador Allende to argue that the square and its yearly commemorative events operate as memory-work in relation to Chilean exiles (1973–1990), functioning for mourning practices of long-term unresolved traumatic memory of political persecution. The square though operates also as a memory-work for other interrupted political projects, their cultural traumas and political exiles, in this case, of the Spanish Second Republic (1939–1975). This transfer of narratives of commemoration transforms the square into a site of memory with several layers of societal values, and thanks to them both integration processes and a sense of belonging could operate among all communities involved, exiles, migrants and locals. This encounter of layers of political memory transforms the square in a site of memory (a heritage place of exile) for democracy and human rights, and fosters belonging to a polity that transcends local and national boundaries.