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Davidson College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights


It is difficult to talk about social movements in Argentina without discussing the significant impact of “Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo.” “Las Madres,” which began as an activist organization of mothers of “los desaparecidos” or the “disappeared” during the military dictatorship of 1976-1983, is politically influential in Argentina to this day. Through demonstrations, marches, and other campaigns, Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo and its work have shaped the way that the whole world understands human rights violations during the dictatorship. Apart from their work to visibilize instances of state terrorism, Las Madres has created a precedent that allows the role of “mother” to be one of political power.

This project studies the politicization of motherhood within one organization, “Multisectorial contra la Violencia Institucional” in Rosario, Santa Fe. While “Multi” differs significantly from “Las Madres” in structure and political opportunity, the precedent of Las Madres and the political mother can be seen in the activism of “Multisectorial contra la Violencia Institucional.” This project utilizes the qualitative method of a group interview with family members of victims of institutional violence and members of “Multi”, to analyze four dimensions: the context of Rosario, the visbilization of the victims and of the truth behind their cases, the politicization of motherhood, and the future of the movement. Although maternity is analyzed as its own category, this project seeks to understand the role of maternity in this organization, across all categories of analysis. The analysis of these interviews demonstrates how the involvement of mothers and furthermore female family members of the victims, transforms the role of “mother” from a private identity into a political identity. Furthermore, this project looks at how the narratives of these mothers and other family members, help achieve the political goals of “Multi.”


Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Languages and Societies | Politics and Social Change | Women's Studies


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