Research Article

A Discursive Analysis of the Photo Essay Madres Terra


  • Ilka de Oliveira Mota Federal University of São Carlos, UFSCar, São Paulo, Brazil


The present work analyzes the representations of the mourning of mothers of Soacha, Colombia, in the series of 15 photographs entitled Madres Terra, by the photographer Carlos Saavedra and the anthropologist Sebastián Ramírez, exhibited at the “Centro de Memoria, Paz y Reconciliación”, Bogotá, in 2018. Also called “false positives”, aged between 16 and 33 years old, hundreds of innocent young people were executed by the Colombian army on the grounds that they were in the service of illegal armed groups such as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). The analysis pointed to the fact that, in addition to being a space for denouncing state crimes and fighting for justice, the photo essay works as a symbolic place for the elaboration of the mothers' mourning, as well as a way of resistance/persistence of memory, that is, a way of remembering in order not to forget. The theoretical basis is constituted by the Discourse Analysis of a materialist line, which works in the middle between Language, Unconscious and History. Methodologically, the notion of memory, discourse and text (Orlandi, 1999; 2001) are mobilized.

Article information


Journal of Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis

Volume (Issue)

2 (1)





How to Cite

de Oliveira Mota, I. (2023). A Discursive Analysis of the Photo Essay Madres Terra. Journal of Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis, 2(1), 59–70.



Photo essay, state violence, mourning, discoursive memory, Colombia