Projections Onto the Past: Remembering Democratisation in Spain and Portugal

Projections Onto the Past: Remembering Democratisation in Spain and Portugal

Tuesday, 23 October 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HR
Dr Konstantinos Kornetis (Santander Fellow, European Studies Centre, St Antony’s, Oxford)
Dr Marina Pérez de Arcos (Spanish Studies, Oxford)
Emmy Eklundh (King's College London)
ESC Core Seminar Series

Photo credit: Susan Taylor

Projections Onto the Past: Remembering Democratisation in Spain and Portugal.

The almost simultaneous demise of the Estado Novo in Portugal (1933–1974) and the Francoist regime in Spain (1939–1975) took place through revolution and pacted transition, respectively, becoming the canon for the third wave of democratization. Forty years later, the Great Recession forced a revisiting of the period of transitions, especially by a younger generation of activists who began to challenge established narratives that regarded the mid-1970s as a political masterpiece. This paper analyses the complex relation between past and present using oral histories with the so-called second generation of the transitions, namely people who have only “projective memories” of the 1970s, seen especially through their participation in the 2011 indignados movements. It argues that this radical re-evaluation of democratisation in the two countries turned the conflicting generational recollections of these events into pivotal components of present political contestation. It thus showcases how the redeeming power of the Spanish ‘Transición’ and the Portuguese ‘Revoluçao’ animates the political, cultural and public discourse of these young people, who, although (or precisely because) they have not experienced these events directly, keep returning to them to make sense of contemporary politics. 

Kostis Kornetis studied history in Munich, London and Florence. He taught at Brown University and New York University and was Marie Skłodowska Curie Experienced Fellow at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid. His book Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the “Long 1960s” in Greece (Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2013) received the Edmund Keeley Book Prize of the Modern Greek Studies Association in 2015. He has co-edited Metapolitefsi. Greece at the Crossroads of Two Centuries (Athens: Themelio, 2015, in Greek) and Consumption and Gender in Southern Europe since the “late 1960s” (London: Bloomsbury, 2016). He has published extensively on the history and memory of social movements in the European South and is currently working on a manuscript on the generational memory of the transitions to democracy in Spain, Portugal and Greece.

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