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Las dos Españas

Terror and Crisis in Contemporary Spain

Dr Nicholas Manganas completed his PhD in International Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) in 2010 and has since been teaching Business Communication at the University of Cantabria. He is the director of an English language school, The Magic Bus, in Santander, Spain. He participates in many international conferences and has published widely in multidisciplinary journals.

The idea of a divided Spain, where one half is antagonistic to the other half, dates back at least to the 19th-century Spanish satirist Mariano José de Larra who, in his essay “All Souls’ Day 1836”, wrote “Here lies half of Spain. It died of the other half”. The narrative of las dos Españas is evident across many political and historical debates operating in the Spanish state, and contemporarily it shadows and informs national issues from Catalan independence to the teaching of history in schools. But it is most polemical in debates concerning the issue of terror in all its manifestations. Las dos Españas takes a multidisciplinary approach in understanding narratives of terror in contemporary Spain, in an attempt to contextualize terrorism socially and politically, as well as ideologically. Selective case studies of terror related events in the Spanish state will include the long-running Basque conflict, the state-sponsored death squad (GAL) scandal in the 1980s, the March 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid, and other terror episodes. The author argues that these terror-related events can be re-read in terms of traces and links to long-standing historical narratives. However, since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2009, and its devastating effect on Spanish society, narratives of economic crisis have begun to supersede narratives of terror in the construction of the two Spains. The conclusion drawn is that the narrative of las dos Españas still has the power to continue to divide Spain ideologically in political discourse. Terror and crisis narratives are intertwined with the narrative of las dos Españas to provide a coherent argument that allows one to better understand the subversive nature of contemporary Spanish politics.

Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies and the International Brigade Memorial Trust

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-849-7
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: October 2016
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp.
229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Chapter One
Narratives of Political Violence: The Narrative of las dos Españas and the Global Metanarrative of Terror

Chapter Two
History, Terror and Myth: ETA, Spain, the State and the Nation

Chapter Three
Terror and the State: The GAL, Fantasy and the (Un)imaginable

Chapter Four
The Aznar Years (1996–2004): History, Politics and Narratives of the Spanish “Nation”

Chapter Five
Blame Games and Narrative Battles: The March 11, 2004, “Terror” Attacks and the March 11 General Election

Chapter Six
The Zapatero Years (2004–2011): Crispación and the return of las dos Españas

Chapter Seven
The Beginning and the End of the ETA Peace Process (2006–2007): Between Dialogue and Engaño

Chapter Eight
The Semantics and Rhetoric of Victims of Terrorism Groups

Chapter Nine 
From Terror to Crisis


Contents to Follow

This study uses a narratological model to highlight how contemporary terror acts and political violence in Spain are used by political parties to project their ideological narratives. The book analyzes narratives of terror in Spain in political and social contexts and explains how narratives of terror are linked to historical narratives and mass-mediated processes. Chronological chapters examine changes in the situation from 1996 through 2007.

The idea of the ‘Two Spains’ has long been a dominant theme in Spanish historical narrative. Nicholas Manganas’ achievement in Las dos Españas: Terror and Crisis in Contemporary Spain is to make it newly relevant by reframing it within today’s context of terror politics. Timely, well written and clearly structured, the book guides us through the complexities of identity politics and media narratives in contemporary Spain. Its main premise is that the concept of two opposing Spains has been an overriding influence on Spanish discourse since the Civil War and continues to influence political, social and ideological life in Spain today. Manganas argues that a narrative focusing on the fear of breakdown has been usurped by political stakeholders to further their own ideological causes, thus creating a ‘false reality’ for the mass media.
Reviewed in the Bulletin of Spanish Studies and Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies by Siân Edwards, Cardiff University

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