María Marta Quintana
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6751-1679


This article analyses several discourse configurations by Plaza de Mayo grandmothers, as portrayed in their first book: Botín de guerra (Nosiglia, 1985). Specifically, the way the Association —overdetermined by other discourses— performs the notion of war booty to refer to the missing/appropriated boys and girls by state agents during the last civic-military dictatorship (1976-1983) in Argentina. In order to do this, in the first place, the working of authoritarian discourse is explored, specifically concerning ambivalence and stereotype as core resources of its effectiveness, while simultaneously and paradoxically preparing, from the inside of their own discourse formation, the conditions to be disavowed. Then the way how the Grandmothers’ discourse rejects several stereotypes, reverses others, and produces shifts in order to demonstrate the Armed Forces’ criminality and call for their grandchildren being brought back. Finally, it engages in dismantling the analogy ‘rebels’ children’ equals to ‘neglected minors’, considering that the notion of neglect was rooted in certain bureaucratic circuits related to a ‘minorized’ childhood, which makes up a socially available signifier (and mechanism) to complete the appropriation of boys/girls and substituting their identity.

Keywords: grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, children appropriation, war booty, discourse strategies.