Search results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 21 items for

  • Author: Duncan Wheeler x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Abstract only
Spanish culture and politics in transition, 1962–92
Author:

The transition to democracy that followed the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 was once hailed as a model of political transformation. But since the 2008 financial crisis it has come under intense scrutiny. Today, a growing divide exists between advocates of the Transition and those who see it as the source of Spain’s current socio-political bankruptcy. This book revisits the crucial period from 1962 to 1992, exposing the networks of art, media and power that drove the Transition and continue to underpin Spanish politics in the present. Drawing on rare archival materials and over 300 interviews with politicians, artists, journalists and ordinary Spaniards, including former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez (1982–96), Following Franco unlocks the complex and often contradictory narratives surrounding the foundation of contemporary Spain.

Class, gender and race
Duncan Wheeler

This first of three chapters to explore the competition between Madrid and Barcelona suggests that the Catalan capital became Spain’s most cosmopolitan and leading cultural city as a result of the creative tension between class and national(ist) identity. Against the backdrop of mass rural migration to cities, animosity between the capitals of Spain and Catalonia is shown to have disguised complex and frequently contradictory vectors of oppression. A range of media, from the novels of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Juan Marsè to the quinqui films, are discussed. Madrid and Barcelona faced challenges hardly unique to Spain, but they were often exaggerated by the dictatorship’s ad hoc modernisation through which poverty became mobile and only later mobilised.

in Following Franco
Duncan Wheeler

The cultural competition between Madrid and Barcelona often appears to be in perpetual extra time, one side grabbing the advantage only for the other to equalise and subsequently take the lead. This chapter shows how and why Madrid, the dictatorial city par excellence, was able to reinvent itself during the Transition through the drug-fuelled youth movement known as the Movida. The purported apoliticism of La Movida is critically interrogated, as is the extent to which progressive politicians such as City Mayor Enrique Tierno Galván and President Felipe González can be held responsible for rising levels of crime, unemployment and drug use.

in Following Franco
The Barcelona model
Duncan Wheeler

In the manner of the proverbial hare and tortoise, Barcelona was slow to harness the potential of the post-Franco explosion of creativity, but eventually overtook Madrid in the race to become the cultural capital of Spain. The catalyst for this transformation was hosting the Olympic Games, which, initially at least, appeared to constitute a more sustainable cultural revolution than the Movida for four interrelated reasons: (1) the understanding of heroin addiction as a social problem rather than collateral damage; (2) a greater collaboration between the public and private sectors; (3) a privileged natural environment, a city nestled between the city and the sea; and (4) better co-ordination between urban renewal and cultural rehabilitation. This chapter offers a cost–benefit analysis of the Olympic adventure in relation to Barcelona and Spain’s (inter)national relations and the lives of their citizens.

in Following Franco
Abstract only
Duncan Wheeler
in Following Franco
Pablo Picasso’s Guernica
Duncan Wheeler

The political and cultural casualties of Francoism’s bellicose centralism are imprinted in Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, depicting the aerial bombing of the Basque town. By the time of Franco’s death, Picasso was widely considered the twentieth century’s greatest artist, and Federico García Lorca was the most translated Spanish playwright. Lorca was executed by Falangist thugs shortly after the illegal rebel uprising, and his death, alongside Guernica, was evidence of the regime’s violent philistinism, ensuring an indelible link in the international psyche between Franco’s victory and a defeat for culture. As numerous studies have shown, the afterlife of Guernica is a key barometer for Francoism’s socio-political evolution. This chapter draws upon this scholarship to examine how competing discourses were both constituted by and constitutive of a direct association between culture and democracy, which transformed the former into an increasingly powerful tool of socio-political engineering.

in Following Franco
Culture and community in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia
Duncan Wheeler

During the Second Republic, federal statutes were introduced for Catalonia and the Basque Country, with another in Galicia in the process of being approved. The equation of dual identities with the purported disintegration of Spain constituted one, if the not the, chief justification for the military coup of July 1936. Adopting far more caution than had been exercised during the Second Republic, a concession to this democratic precedent and the interests of some of the most potentially conflictual regions of Spain was made in acknowledging Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia as historical nationalities whose passage from regions to autonomous communities would be fast-tracked. This chapter explores the role that culture has performed in both fostering and mitigating regional and State nationalisms, as well as contextualising how and why the economically poor Galicia has traditionally been less contentious than the more economically prosperous Catalonia and the Basque Country.

in Following Franco
The State, autonomous communities and the culture wars
Duncan Wheeler

What is the relationship between culture, the State and democratisation during and after the Franco regime? The different sections of this book have responded to this question in different ways and reveal, both individually and collectively, how, in a radically divided society, one of the few things almost everyone in Spain is in agreement about is the civilising force of art and knowledge. This final chapter unpicks the ideological stakes at play in competing definitions of culture, as well as establishing genealogies to understand better how and why the toxic philanthropy of the late dictatorship period bequeathed a heuristic legacy of ideological and aesthetic veneration. The decolonisation of Equatorial Guinea and the Spanish Sahara is critically analysed alongside the matter of whether Castile can be said to have colonised other parts of Spain. The autonomous regions discussed include, but are not limited to, Andalusia, Valencia, the Canary Islands and Castile La Mancha.

in Following Franco
Abstract only
Duncan Wheeler

A rare point of consensus in an increasingly divided socio-political landscape is that, for better or worse, the institutions and individuals that form contemporary Spain are the products of the Transition. Traditional political parties and commentators speak of the longest period of stability, development and democracy in the country’s tumultuous and frequently tragic history; by contrast, detractors question to what extent the ‘regime of ’78’ prevented Spain from realising its democratic potential, with much of the infrastructure and institutions of sociological Francoism left in tact. Frequently lost in debates surround the merits (or lack thereof) of the Transition is the need to distinguish between critiques of how it was handled at the time and the fetishistic veneration of the Constitution. Drawing together arguments developed in different chapters of this book, the conclusion suggests it is possible, and in fact desirable, to be critical of the latter whilst offering an ambivalent or even positive assessment of the former. A critical analysis is offered of the role of Podemos in a new political landscape that is more divided but, more positively, is also taking steps to deal with democratic deficits in relation to, for example, women’s rights.

in Following Franco
Revindicating Spanish actors and acting in and through Cine de barrio
Duncan Wheeler

This chapter considers the impact of the Spanish television programme Cine de barrio on popular discourses surrounding national film and performance styles. First airing in 1995, Cine de barrio pairs the viewing of a classic national film (generally made sometime between 1950 and the late 70s, after the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco) with a talk show segment between a host and an invited guest. By linking discourses on cultural and historical memory with the subsequent revival of classic national cinema brought about by Cine de barrio, the chapter explores the relationship between actors, their films and their audiences; the affective response produced in this encounter, it argues, generates a nostalgia for classic national cinema that also influences contemporary Spanish film. The chapter also addresses the links between the seemingly disparate Spanish films of the 70s and the comedic box office blowouts of the 2010s, as well as arguing for a sustained reflection on nostalgia, memory, and their connections to acting and performance.

in Performance and Spanish film