Chapter 3. The history of the Argentinean Ideological State apparatus and the associated apparatus of cultural fiction Some conclusions
In the whole history of Argentina, it is possible to find the expression of six different national sentiments, twelve historical periods that correspond to different Ideological State Apparatus and a differential use of supports of the cultural apparatus of the State in each case to express and design their political ideas about the Nation.
In the first case, there are six different national sentiments that appear during the history of the country. Of the six sentiments, the proprietary and the religious dimensions of nationality appeared only in one historical period each. The nationality as a home appeared in two periods while the organizational dimension and the sentiments of sharing are the most common sentiments, appearing in four different historical periods each. In some cases, the sentiments are not very strong.
Those sentiments are materialized in different supports. In the Argentine case, it is found that the flag, shield, banknotes and rosette are used throughout the Argentine history with a light blue and white colour except from the Rosas period where they became red. However, the four mentioned symbols can carry different messages according to the elements, images and figures that are designed in them. In the case of the shield, it could represent a federal government and country if the shield is surrounded by flags or it represents a central government led by Buenos Aires if the shield has no external elements. In the case of the flag, it can be used to strong military values if the flag has a sun or to be a symbol of civil citizens if the flag has not a sun. In the case of banknotes, the main duality is found between the alternate presence of the figure of the Republic as a representation of democracy and the figure of San Martin that represents the military power. In the case of the rosette, the main use was for military identification and official ceremonies, even though from the beginning of the country till 1828 and then again with Peron, the ribbon rosette was used by the civil population as a national emblem. In this sense, the four symbols can carry messages associates to democratic or military governments, can represent a federal country or a non-federal country and a military or a civil society.
Furthermore, it is important to highlight that, since the return of democracy in 1983, the four symbols have almost not changed, the rosette has not been used any more for ceremonies and their use has decreased in importance as an identity designer. The same has happen with the stamps that are not issued any more by the State and with army uniforms. In the last case, the last change was in 1955 and till now the style of the uniform has been influenced by the North American style. At the beginning, they ranged from an European style to get differentiated from the Hispanic and from the autochthonous of the country. The Unitarios maintained the European influence while the Federales had an autochthonous influence with the use of the clothes similar to those used by gauchos. Last, from 1853 till 1900 the French influence returned and from 1909 till 1955 a German influence arrived. In this particular case of the uniforms, they reflected the political alignments with different countries, armies and cultural models that prevailed in each historical period. However, as democracy has consolidated, the army uniform has no longer become important as an identity designer.
The architecture shows a similar tendency to that of the uniforms because it had colonial and French influence by election and English influence that came with economic infrastructure. Then, German and eclectic influence grew in importance and produced a public architecture that was characterized by its monumentality typical of a military power. With the return of democracy in 1983 the architecture created by the State was not relevant any more.
The use of sculptures responds to the same parameters mentioned above because from 1983 till now, the use of monuments and sculptures has not been relevant. There are periods with no production of sculptures and monuments, especially since the establishment of a durable democracy and before with Peron. The periods most important for sculptures and monuments were from 1880 till 1916 with the figures of liberty, the republic and progress. In addition, in 1862 the first monument to San Martin was made and his statue and bust was systematized during 1930 – 1945 with a nationalist government. In this sense, it is possible to conclude that the right governments used sculptures and monuments to settle their presence and military discourse inside the communities. On the contrary, the democratic governments did not use this support as a political discourse and action.
The use of all mentioned supports have decreased since the arrival of the democracy and coincided with the major use of other supports such us mass media, especially with the use of television. The use of media has been equal to democratic and non democratic States and has increased throughout history. However, in times of military government there has been censorship to have a total control of the messages emited by them and to not allow the appearance of other discourses.
The twelve mentioned Ideological State apparatus emited six national sentiments and used different supports to design nationality. As it has been mentioned, some of them were not relevant as image producers. In general, the apparatus of cultural fictions of the State of democratic governments did not make a strong use of the apparatus of construction of national imaginations such as happened during the Radical governments of Irigoyen and Alvear (1916-1928), the periods between 1958-1961, 1963-1966 and 1983-1989. The same happened during the short-term administration of the Peronism, from 1973 to 1976 that did not produce a clear and stable national image’s policy and during the Alliance, Duhalde and Kirchner from 2001 to 2008.
Other governments created some new images that supported previous identities such as the case of Menem that used the images of Rosas and Roca in banknotes and monuments in an attempt to associate his image with that of the historical Argentine caudillos and to include in his government nationalistic and eclectic symbology.
However, there are some governments that generated a break with the past and created a new identity by using strong visual objects and images. In this sense, it is possible to find four identities generated by the images produced by the Argentine State which are the European identity, the Nationalist identity, the identity of the workers, and the Republican identity even though some of the characteristics of each identity appear in different moments or identities.
The European identity grew with the Unitarios, from independence to 1829, and started again in 1862 to 1916. Some of characteristics can be traced in the whole history of Argentina. This identity is characterized by a negation of the local culture and Buenos Aires is considered the centre of the country. In this period, the most important public infrastructure was created and many sculptures were created by French sculptures. The French and English aesthetic influence was extended to architecture, monuments, banknotes and others arts. The European soldier’s uniforms style sought to establish a differentiation from the Hispanic root as well as from the autochthonous of the country. Stamps had the images of Palas Atenea with the word Republic, San Martin and local heroes installing the idea of a new Republic.
The Republican identity started in 1916 to 1930 and got stronger again from 1983 till 1989 through present times during democracy. It has not only one version of Argentina and it has no strong visual testimony as could be found in other identities. The apparatus of cultural fiction rests more on words than in images. From 1985, the flag with a sun could be used with no restriction by civilians.
The Nationalist identity started with Rosas as an opposition to the Unitarios and European model. It appeared again during the military governments of 1930 till 1983. Rosas gave value to the catholic Spanish and inland culture. There was a massive use of the image of San Martin in banknotes, stamps, sculptures and monuments. The German influence was important in the uniforms and in the architecture that was characterized by its monumentality. The flag was with a sun and the shield had no external elements.
The workers identity started in the government of Peron in 1945 and lasted till 1955, even though some of the icons or images are still circulating in the country. The Argentine symbols were borrowed to represent the Peronist party, mainly the national flag and a modified version of the Argentine national shield . He used the worker’s figure in its different versions of shirtless men, workers, Evita and Peron in stamps, posters, sculptures and school text books. The messages were designed with be lively with strong colors and representations of happy people. He replaced the traditional republican symbology and even competed with the nationalist symbology.