On the Ashes of Guatemalan Congress: Heritage, Memory and Identitarian Contention


After demonstrators set fire to the Legislative Palace on November 2020, the Congress of Guatemala qualified the attack of the National Heritage Monument, “democratic temple” and “belonging to all Guatemalans”, as a loss of historical legacy and a turning point for democracy. Why would a National Heritage Monument, belonging to all citizens, be target of attack by some of these very same citizens? In this article, I argue that tangible cultural heritage is a source and site of identitarian conflict due to its symbolic nature. It performatively establishes an interlinkage of place, memory and identity and is subject to tensions generated by choices: what is represented, what is remembered, what is forgotten.

By: Juan Arturo Sánchez

Published on February 24, 2021

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