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  You are in: Home > History > Press, Politics and National Identity in Catalonia  

Press, Politics and National Identity in Catalonia
The Transformation of La Vanguardia, 1881–1931

Pol Dalmau

Pol Dalmau holds a thesis from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). He has been a visiting fellow at Universitat Pompeu Fabra and New York University. His research focuses on the birth of the mass media and its connections with broader phenomena in European history (colonialism, democratisation, political culture).


For more than three generations, the members of the Godó family controlled Barcelona’s top-selling newspaper La Vanguardia, navigating it through the country’s turbulent 20th century. Whether under the corrupt politics of the Bourbon Restoration, the radical transformations of the Second Republic or the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War, La Vanguardia remained Barcelona’s indisputable journalistic benchmark. Central to this success was the Godó family’s extraordinary capacity to meet the changing tastes of a plural audience whilst adjusting to a changing political scenario. In parallel, the ownership of the newspaper allowed family members to expand their interests to other fields, such as politics, business and colonial rule in Cuba and Morocco.

The long-standing reputation of the Godó dynasty, however, is in sharp contrast with the lack of studies about their members and the newspaper they founded. This silence is due, in part, to the influence that La Vanguardia still exerts on public life today. Drawing on hitherto unused archival material, this book is the first account about ‘the most renowned publishers and the most important newspaper in Catalonia’s history’. In so doing, it also sheds new light on how the media shaped (and conditioned) Europe’s birth of mass politics. In fact, while contemporaries often observed that newspapers had a powerful influence over public affairs, historians have not systematically examined the role of press owners as ‘political actors’. Likewise, media specialists have seldom considered how the rise of the new mass press affected democratisation and the collapse of liberal institutions. In contrast, Pol Dalmau focuses on the case of a renowned family in Barcelona to uncover the media’s critical role in Europe’s uneven road to modernity.



1  The Foundation of La Vanguardia and the Transnational Origins of Modern Journalism
2  “Our future lies in Africa”: Newspapers and Colonial Ambitions in Morocco
3  Between Barcelona and Cuba: Colonial Business and the Mechanisms of Influence
4  Press, Politics and the “Disaster” of 1898
5  Public Image and the Mediatisation of Politics
6  Mass Politics and the Strategies of Adaptation
7  The Golden Age of La Vanguardia and the Crumbling of the Liberal Order




Reviews to follow

Published in association with the
Catalan Observatory of the London School of Economics


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
280 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
December 2017
  Illustrated:   Yes
Hardback Price:
£75.00 / $95.00

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