Between Violence and Its Representation: Ethics, Archival Research, and the Politics of Knowledge Production in the Telling of Torture Stories

Teresa Macías

Abstract


This paper explores the ethics of archival research by reflecting on the challenges of doing research with highly descriptive and gruesome archived testimonies of torture. This reflection leads me to unpack the character of archives and research as power/knowledge devices that at their very core imply violence: a violence of representation enacted in the representation of violence. I propose that the inseparable representation-violence relationship requires that we situate ourselves in the narrow, hazardous, and ever-shifting space between violence and its representation in order to turn representation into a performative, discursive, and self-constituting ethics in which we can engage in political and strategic practices of representation.

Keywords


archives; archival research; ethics; representational violence; Foucault

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