Postmodern Paletos: Immigration, Democracy, and Globalization in Spanish Narrative and Film, 1950-2000

Postmodern Paletos: Immigration, Democracy, and Globalization in Spanish Narrative and Film, 1950-2000

Postmodern Paletos: Immigration, Democracy, and Globalization in Spanish Narrative and Film, 1950-2000

Postmodern Paletos: Immigration, Democracy, and Globalization in Spanish Narrative and Film, 1950-2000

Synopsis

"When Spanish dictator Francisco Franco legalized internal immigration in 1947 he unwittingly inaugurated the greatest period of urban expansion and rural de-population that Spain had known. During the next two decades, nearly four million citizens would move from Spain's traditional pueblos perdidos to overburdened urban metropolises. Along with wooden trunks and baskets of chickens, the immigrants (or paletos, as they were often called) bore on their journey the weight of centuries of ideological meaning tied to the geographic regions they were traversing. To abandon rural Spain had come to signify a rejection of manhood, wealth, Christian values, and even Spanishness itself. Paletos, however innocent they may have appeared, were not ideologically neutral. In the coming decades the weight and complexity of the meanings behind immigration, the country, and the city would only grow as Spain advanced from economic under development, social ignorance, and political reaction to full-fledged participation in global economics and politics, activities that would reshape what it meant to be an immigrant and paleto both within and across the geographic border that had traditionally defined the Spanish nation." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The anxiety of our era has to do fundamentally with space.

—Michel Foucault

The power to narrate is the power to build nations.

—Edward Said

The Unconscious is outside, not hidden in any unfathomable
depths.

—Slavoj Zizek

When francisco franco and his nationalist forces emerged VICTOrious from the Spanish civil war in 1939 they proudly proclaimed their mission to restore Spain to its Catholic, monarchic, and Castilian essence. To aid them in their “holy crusade” of cultural entrenchment, Franco and his supporters turned to popular myths of hispanicity. By following the dictator the Spanish nation would supposedly recover the Castilianguided grandeur achieved five centuries earlier by the Catholic kings. in the process, according to official discourse Spanish men would rediscover the stoic strength of Seneca while women would come to embody the Christian virtue of Queen Isabel.

Such anticipated character changes were themselves tied to the sustenance of a supposedly eternal link between Spaniards and their land. Appropriating traditional literary images of the impassive Castilian peasant, Franco linked national strength to the rugged native soil—in particular that of the Castilian meseta—from which countless generations of peasants had scratched out a living. in opposition to the sacred soil, Franco painted a picture of the city as a site of moral depravity and political corruption. Accordingly, if Spain was to achieve its promised greatness and its citizens realize their mythic potential the Spanish peasant would need to remain in the pueblo, no matter the hardship.

While censorship and ideological education may have kept such obviously manipulated figures as Isabel the Catholic, Seneca, El Cid, Don Quijote, and Saint Teresa out of the hands of would-be critics, the picture of a nation eternally tied to its rural, Castilian roots, could not be so easily protected. For all the official propaganda, when Franco declared in 1947 that Spaniards—subject to a kind of house arrest since the end of the civil . . .

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