Theory, Culture and Society 38 (1):53-78 (2021)

In Documentality, Maurizio Ferraris argues that documents are at the heart of social institutions. Taking this notion as a cue, this piece considers a key organisation in the resistance to state violence and Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile, the Vicaría de la Solidaridad, and focuses on the remarkable document where the desperate stories of people detained, disappeared and murdered following the coup in 1973 were recorded. This process of registration adopted an overtly rational, administrative response akin to the ‘bio-political’ modes of governing life that Foucault described. As such, it was also built upon a refusal to allow the lives of a section of the population to be cast as without value. Moreover, it ‘deferred’ to a future, in which such documentation would be an invaluable record of injustice. Its legacy is not confined to legal forums, however; academic work and Nicolás Franco's artwork La Sábana have also emerged.
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DOI 10.1177/0263276420937470
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