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Crisis and Resistance in the Two Spains: an ethnographic study of the narratives, impact and limitations of protest in Madrid since 2011.

BAKER, SUSANNA,MARIA,KATE (2019) Crisis and Resistance in the Two Spains: an ethnographic study of the narratives, impact and limitations of protest in Madrid since 2011. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis is concerned with the lasting impact of austerity policies on expressions and experiences of dissent. It draws on eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Madrid between 2016 and 2018, creating a new anthropological gauge for political resistance in the wake of crisis. The city of Madrid became, in 2011, a centre-stage for new waves of social movements, in which a wide cross-section of participants mobilised in protests against austerity measures in the midst of the Eurozone crisis. This thesis, removed temporally from the immediacy of these protests, evaluates their form and lasting impact in retrospect. It draws upon a wide sample of narratives and case studies to establish why and how resistance to pervasive economic practices has receded despite the enduring actuality of crisis experiences.

While the public engagement of 2011 has shown some resonance on the Spanish electoral scene, readings of resistance as solidary and spontaneous have failed to translate into lasting resistant engagement for many local actors. This thesis broadens anthropological readings of resistance to include not only its active moments and members, but also the latency and sub-strata that make up much of its local reality. Through ethnographic analysis of activists, producers of activist content, and partially resistant audiences, this thesis posits that resistance to austerity in Madrid cannot be explained solely by neoliberal binaries. Rather, it draws upon aesthetic and narrative sub-texts, which local actors recognise and re-use to shape their own actions as resistant. I argue that local sub-texts of dissent are articulated along pre-existing socio-historic fractures in Spain, setting resistance in retrospective and disenchanted gazes which hinder its creative potential in the face of neoliberal oppression.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:crisis ethnography resistance memory trauma reconciliation
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Nov 2019 16:42

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