Women and the Fight for Urban Change in Late Francoist Spain

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Webster, Roseanna 

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title> jats:pThis article explores how Spanish women formed grassroots groups to fight for the transformation of their neighbourhoods in the late 1950s and 1960s — the latter years of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. In contrast to most histories of feminism, which focus on literate, secular groups in universities or the centres of cities, its subjects are activists based on the outskirts of Madrid and in the industrial areas of Asturias, many of whom were Catholic, came from rural areas and left school before the age of 14.</jats:p> jats:pHistories of feminism have tended to overlook completely movements in the southern European dictatorships, while accounts of modern Spain often see male politicians and experts as the driving forces shaping the built environment under Franco. But photographs, archival material and oral history interviews show that women demanded ‘cosas básicas’ (basic resources) on a widespread scale in Asturias and Madrid. They made these claims in the context of unprecedented internal migration, industrial unrest and the spread of social Catholic movements: factors often neglected in studies of social movements. The women involved have sometimes struggled, however, to take pride in their actions in later life. Patterns in their life stories suggest why, and offer insight into what agitating under Franco has meant for how they understand their lives, identities and relationships.</jats:p>

4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, Behavioral and Social Science
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Past &amp; Present
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Oxford University Press (OUP)