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Spanish Spaces

Spanish Spaces: Landscape, Space and Place in Contemporary Spanish Culture

Volume: 6
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Spanish Spaces
    Book Description:

    Spanish Spaces is a pioneering study that marries contemporary cultural geography with contemporary Spanish culture. The field of cultural geography has grown both extensively and rapidly, as has the field of cultural analysis and debate on Spanish cultural texts; yet despite a convergence in study between cultural geography (and cultural studies more widely) and cultural texts themselves, this has made little impact to date within the area of contemporary Spanish cultural studies. Yet Spain’s varied terrain, with complex negotiations between rural, urban and coastal (negotiations that have on occasion spilled over into political and violent conflict), and perhaps its very lack of a contemporary landscape tradition familiar to British and German cultural studies, offer the opportunity for fresh insights into questions of landscape, space and place. Drawing on case studies from contemporary Spanish film and literature, Davies explores the themes of memory and forgetting, nationalism and terrorism, crime and detection, gender, tourism and immigration, investigating what it means to think of space and places in specifically Spanish terms.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-775-0
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    This book derives from my readings from the field of cultural geography in an attempt to reflect on the terrain of the entity known as Spain, through the prism of my scholarly interest in contemporary Spanish cinematic and literary texts. A further motivation is the difficulties I and others wrestle with in Hispanic Studies as we try to investigate questions bounded by an idea of nation, in an era when the whole notion of a nation is open to dispute and indeed discredit. Some scholars now talk of an era of ‘post-nationalism’ and sometimes by implication post-nation-ism, but the concept...

  2. CHAPTER TWO Memory: landscapes of the past in Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish films
    (pp. 21-39)

    This and the next chapter emphasise one of the key contemporary political and cultural issues in Spain today, that of the recuperation of memories of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy in the late 70s and early 80s was assumed to be based on apacto de olvido(pact of forgetting) that did not call to account those who played a leading role in the previous Franco regime. In particular, those on Franco’s side who committed atrocities against their opponents benefited from an implicit amnesty for their crimes. However, as democracy consolidated itself,...

  3. CHAPTER THREE Forgetting: the landscapes of Gonzalo Torrente Ballester
    (pp. 40-59)

    In Gonzalo Torrente Ballester’s novelYo no soy yo, evidentemente(I Am Clearly Not Myself), a German character makes the following remark:

    Sobre este mundo real … hemos montado otro imaginario para nosotros mismos, un mundo que no nos engaña, pero que nos divierte y en el fondo nos satisface: La Alemania como debió ser, un país y una sociedad en la que tendríamos cabida. Quizás vaya en ello un poco de nostalgia de lo que se perdió para siempre. (Torrente Ballester 2008: 421–2)

    We have erected for ourselves on top of this world another imaginary one, a world...

  4. CHAPTER FOUR Landscape and identities in the Basque Country
    (pp. 60-81)

    If landscape, space and place can be used as a way of seeing past traumas and the way in which they haunt the present, they can also be used to see present traumas, too. One of the most enduring legacies of Franco’s dictatorship is the sometimes violent struggle over the political position of the Basque Country, in the north of the Iberian peninsula: although the roots of the Basque nationalist movement promoting greater autonomy or outright independence from Spain go further back in time than the Franco period, the dictatorship added a new edge to calls for a recognition of...

  5. CHAPTER FIVE Crime scene: landscape and the law of the land
    (pp. 82-100)

    This chapter and the next consider the links between the law and national identity, as further examples of the ways in which a notion of nation can trace itself through space and place. Space is one of the ideas listed by Tim Edensor in his discussion of the imbrications of legal frameworks, national identities and everyday life. ‘In a very practical sense, national identity is facilitated by the state’s legislative framework, which delimits and regulates the practices in which people can partake, the spaces in which they are permitted to move, and in many other ways provides a framework for...

  6. CHAPTER SIX Crime, scene, investigation: women, detection and the city
    (pp. 101-119)

    Following on from the arguments of the previous chapter, this chapter continues the consideration of the link between landscape, space and place and the law, but now focuses more squarely on the city and the presence of the female detective within texts on the city and crime. One of the key theories concerning moving through city space is that of theflâneur, a theory derived specifically from nineteenth-century Paris, theorised first by Charles Baudelaire and later by Walter Benjamin: theflâneurmoves without specific purpose through the public and through public spaces but is not himself (and the gender here...

  7. CHAPTER SEVEN Coasting: tourism and landscape
    (pp. 120-141)

    Spain has functioned as a tourist location for outsiders for at least the past two centuries. In the nineteenth century Frenchmen found Spain convivial as the primitive other next door, conveniently just the other side of the Pyrenees but allowing an escape, for a time, from the constraints of polite French society. This included a form of sex tourism, or at the very least an appreciation of maidens duskier than those to be found in France. Joseba Gabilondo observes that in the nineteenth century ‘Southern Europe, in continuation with the lower classes of most Northern European countries and cities, becomes...

  8. CHAPTER EIGHT Immigration: north (of) Africa
    (pp. 142-163)

    Spanish cinema has for many decades maintained a vein of film-making known ascine social, films that attempt to deal with social problems in a realist style; and this vein persists today even in an era when scholars and critics of Spanish film acknowledge a move towards more commercially orientated film-making that emphasises narrative and spectacle. Indeed, some film-makers have combined the two, with Benito Zambrano’sSolas(Alone, 2000), for instance, blending a sentimental tale of family and quasi-family relationships with a study of alcoholism and domestic abuse; or Alejandro Amenábar’sMar adentro(The Sea Inside, 2004), a biopic cashing...

  9. CHAPTER NINE Conclusion
    (pp. 164-166)

    One of the purposes of this book has been to reinvigorate the meaning of the word Spain as a term of more than simple convenience for academics. What that term means, of course, is another matter altogether. Given the case studies outlined here, the term resonates in different and often opposing ways. While both the films of del Toro and the novels of Torrente Ballester look to recover a Spain apparently lost, the Spains they imagine to be lost are very different, as are the reasons why recuperation is desirable. As regards the Basque Country, considered in Chapter 4, there...