As part of a transnational politicization of everyday life during the 1960s and 1970s in Colombia, many professionals and white-collar employees experienced a radical political change and social awakening in their lives. Although connected with developmental programs such as the Alliance for Progress, they began to question their political identifications as middle-class in an effort to redefine what they thought their role should be in a revolutionary society. This presentation discusses these experiences as a question of memory. It shows how professionals and white-collar workers sought—consciously and unconsciously—to remember a radicalized past in order to define themselves as a gendered petit bourgeoisie in the present. It also traces a political genealogy for those memories within the Left to show how such a genealogy played a pivotal yet forgotten role in the political execution of José Raquel Mercado, a working-class Black leader, by the guerrilla M-19 in 1976.
A.Ricardo López-Pedreros is Professor of History at Western Washington University (USA). He is currently Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at the Institute of the Americas--UCL. He the author of Makers of Democracy: A Transnational History of the Middle Classes in Colombia (Duke University Press, 2019). He is coeditor of The Making of the Middle Class: Toward a Transnational History (Duke University Press, 2012) and The Middle Classes in Latin America: Subjectivities, Practices, and Genealogies (Routledge, Forthcoming). Professor López-Pedreros is the editor of Social Movements in the Americas series (Rowman &Littlefield/Lexington books). He is currently working on two book monographs, a biography of the Colombian sociologist Gabriel Restrepo and a history of domination in Colombia during the second half of the twentieth century.
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