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Puget, J. (1988). Social violence and psychoanalysis in Argentina: The unthinkable and the unthought. Free Associations, 1(13):84-140.

(1988). Free Associations, 1(13):84-140

Social violence and psychoanalysis in Argentina: The unthinkable and the unthought

Janine Puget

1 Introduction

In 1984 a symposium on mental health was held in Buenos Aires, its object to ‘analyse’ the effects of social and political repression from a psychological standpoint. There were 1600 participants at the meeting, the first public event of the democratic period since the military government to investigate the field of psychology. The speakers' aim was to trigger off ideas, later discussed in small groups.

Professor Gregorio Klimovsky, an epistemologist and member of the National Commission for the Disappeared (CONADEP), referred to the need to

understand, explain and theorize about what has happened, not merely as an exercise in scientific curiosity, but because only by clearly articulating the events that have taken place will it be possible to ascertain the causes and laws which would prevent a future repetition of those events … From an epistemological point of view this presents an enormous challenge: to introduce knowledge in an attempt to produce objective views, and at the same time not to be indifferent to the values implicit in knowledge.

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