Modes of production, circulation, and academic recognition of an ‘archive of repression’: the case of the DIPPBA archive in Argentina

By: Alex Colman


Volume: 09
Issue: 02:Winter 2023
ISSN: 2459-2943
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2023.0019
Pages: 55-81
Lic.: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Archives of repression
Intelligence agencies
Recent History
Discourse circulation
Discourse recognition



he article compares the modes of production and primary circulation of materials of the DIPPBA archive – an Argentine ‘archive of repression’ – before and after its public opening in 2003, specifically in academic research on Recent History. The DIPPBA was an intelligence service that operated between 1956 and 1998. Through a multidisciplinary approach that integrates semiotics, discourse analysis, and anthropology, the paper studies the transition of the DIPPBA archive from its origins as an intelligence service repository to its current status as a publicly accessible archive managed by the Provincial Commission for Memory. This transition prompted significant political, legal, functional, spatial, and symbolic transformations involving various management practices. The article examines the interaction between archival circulation and academic recognition by delineating these transformations and identifying regularities in academic historical discourse. Specifically, it investigates how alterations in circulation mechanisms shape the academic recognition of archival materials, influencing researchers’ access and utilization. Additionally, it explores how academic recognition reciprocally informs and influences archival circulation, providing historical, political, and legal intelligibility to the process of archival opening. The findings shed light on the dynamic relationship between archival circulation and discursive recognition within the historiographical field.


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