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Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

On-line version ISSN 1806-9053


OLIVEIRA, Luciano. Military dictatorship, torture, and history: the "symbolic victory" of the defeated. Rev. bras. Ci. Soc. [online]. 2011, vol.26, n.75, pp.07-25. ISSN 1806-9053.

At the end of the Latin American military dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, one realized a very curious phenomenon: the symbolical victory of the defeated. Victorious on the battlefield, the military lost the "psychological war" against the survivors of the so-called "dirty war." That outcome defies a well known proposition in history, namely history is always told by the winners. Based upon the hypothesis that that war was won through methods that debased the ones who employed them, this article identifies in those methods the very reason of the phenomenon mentioned above. That is a case worthy of the greatest concern for the social sciences, political science in particular, attached to a sort of "realism" unable to explain problems of such a nature.

Keywords : Torture; Dictatorship; Historical truth.

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