In a state of culturally induced amnesia for empire in the post-war period, British public or lay collective memory of the Falkland Islands arguably began in April 1982 when Argentine forces landed on the islands. Since then, a memory of the islands has emerged from the conflict that is in contrast to the detailed and very complex history of the territory and the catalogue of associated legal interventions, UN resolutions and bi (tri)-partite negotiations that have taken place over decades. Although among political elites in Britain there is a sense that there is no further case to answer, the Falkland/ Malvinas dispute, nonetheless, continues as a battle between history and memory. This paper discusses the nature of collective memory and explains the Britain’s collective response in 1982 in terms of a set of deeply embedded cultural psychodynamics that led to specific re-enactments of the past.
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