Political Violence and Trauma in Argentina is an ambitious attempt to explain political violence and state terror in Argentina from a psychosocial perspective that incorporates “trauma” as an explanation for historical and political developments. The book covers the history of increasing political violence from 1945 to 1983 and then analyzes its effects on subsequent history.

Challenging the current notion that violence has a logic of its own, and departing from historical narratives that explain state terror as a military response to increasing guerrilla insurgency, Robben suggests that the coup of 1976 was the culmination of independent but related political process that, starting in 1945, led to a cycle of increasing violence and trauma. Robben claims that guerrillas had already been defeated by 1975, and hence that the major goal of the military was to discipline society as a whole. He supports this argument by incorporating into the analysis the history...

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