Generational memory and the resurgence of the past in Southern Europe and Latin America

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Europe is currently experiencing a crisis of memory regimes, whether this concerns World War II, the collapse of Southern European dictatorships or the period of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe. Post-authoritarian societies are currently facing serious political complexities, chief amongst which is the fact that the second or third post-authoritarian generations demand a different social and political contract than the one concluded after 1945, in the mid-1970s or after 1989, respectively. In Spain, young Catalans challenge the 1978 Spanish constitution, claiming that Franco is back from the grave. In Portugal young people complain that the political class has “betrayed” the values of the 1974 Revolution. The past is returning with a vengeance also in Latin America: in Argentina new generations protest against wrongdoings of the dictatorship period, rejecting the idea of “national reconciliation”, while in Chile the political transition and its masterminds have come under serious attack by students who regard them as a generational breakpoint.