The fragmented Transition: postmemory and TV

November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

DSC_0305This week I was presenting a paper at the International Congress of Communication in Pamplona. Organized by the University of Navarra, this was the 30th edition of the meeting, and it was devoted to the regional public channels in Spain. I was presenting a paper entitled ‘La transición fragmentada. Contrahegemonías vasca y catalana en los relatos televisivos del 23F’ / The fragmented Transition. Basque and Catalan counter-hegemonies on 23F TV stories’. I have been researching on the TV documentaries of the regional Catalan and Basque public TV since the eighties.

This is from the abstract:

“In particular, the counter-narrative of these televisions questioned the consideration that the coup was an attempt completely failed, and suggested political gains in the territorial reconfiguration of Spain, as well as the demarcation of red lines in the political debate. From the analysis and in-depth reading of six major documentaries on both channels, the author distinguishes the differences between the Basque and Catalan narrative. The text argues that the explanation of the dissent in the Basque Country and Catalonia is in relation of the national conflict: so for the dominant story the Transition was a success and a model to follow, meanwhile for the counter-hegemonic discourse it was an unfinished process with renounces and limitation for democracy”.

It was quite a lateral communication in a congress mainly focused on the political economy of television, regulation and new technology platforms. Despite this, the whole experience was very interesting and I was able to deliver a contribution in the framework of the research project on post-memory in which I am collaborating.


1981’s coup d’état in Spain: a cultural studies approach

September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

It was in a turbulent Madrid. In 1981, democracy was trying to break the iced era of Fracoism dictatorship, but the rightists, Spanish nationalists and the army still had to say a last word. The 23rd February (23-F) was the date, during the voting for a new First Minister, Civil Guards commanded by Colonel Antonio Tejero crashed into the Spanish parliament armed and shouting “Todos al suelo, coño!”.

114_laeTVE cameras and a photographer (EFE) recorded this image, Spaniards turn on the radio that night (la noche de los transistores), and since that moment 23-F became a site of memory, a ‘meaningful place’ ready to be read and re-read for current and future generations. Coedited with Francisca López (Bates College), a new book compiles eleven articles on the 23-F impact on, broadly, Spanish popular culture. The book, Cartografías del 23-F. Representaciones en la prensa, la televisión, la novela, el cine y la cultura popular (Mapping 23F. Representations in media, fiction, cinema and popular culture), is the first monograph that takes a cultural studies approach to the issue.

23-F was explained and retold by the media each ephemeris; films used the moment as a context for drama and humour; writers located the fiction and essays around the matter (including the acclaimed Cerca’s Anatomía de un instante); and journalists, comedians or cartoonists returned to the image and the story of a failed coup d’état that marked the democratic transition and the memory of the Spanish people. The book tries to offer a comprehensible approach to the uses of the 23-F narratives and the discourses around that episode; not only interestingly for historians, media analysts or sociologists, but also to any reader aiming to understand current Spanish politics, society and culture. Added to the editors, experts on media and cultural analysis contribute to the volume: Manuel Palacio (Universidad Carlos III); Arantxa Capdevila (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Hugh O’Donnell (Glasgow Caledonian University); José Carlos Rueda Laffond (Universidad Complutense de Madrid); Laia Quílez (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Ruth Gutiérrez (Universidad de Navarra); Sira Hernández Corchete (Centro Universitario de la Defensa, Zaragoza), Concepción Cascajosa and Vicente Rodríguez (Universidad Carlos III).

Memory in conflict

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

The field of the mediatisation of memory is of great interest and impact in contemporary configurations of popular history.  In recent times, I have been researching on how Spanish Civil War has been accounted in several documentaries produced by the Catalan public television TVC. In brief, an article on this will appear in a book on the televisualization of the war in the Spanish context, edited by Sira Hernández (Universidad de Navarra). My vision is that the Catalan TV produced a set of documentaries in the 2000’s that raised a set of topics silenced since that moment. Some of these serious facts were the stolen children of Francoism or the desaparecidos during the war/post-war in Spain. Far from presenting a Manichean story, and consistently grounded in journalistic and historical research, some of the TVC documentaries –worthy to mention those by Montse Armengou and Ricard Belis– are an unquestionable heritage of contemporary journalism in Europe. During the next months I will go on investigating in this matter, under the umbrella of the research project I am leading, as the memory has been a great battlefield for the political conflict in Spain during the last decades.

Adapting Historical Narratives: a fruitful academic event

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Nice conference at De Monfort University (Leicester, UK) titled Adapting Historical Narratives this week. Organized at the Centre for Adaptations of the Faculty of Humanities, the conference was a fruitful chance to meet interesting people working on a wide range of topics in the field of adaptation. In my panel, Julia Nitz (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg) presented a paper entitled ‘Photographic Narratives in Ken Burns’ The Civil War”, which offered an insightful analysis of how Burns used photography in his documentary on the American Civil War. I also had the chance to know the work of two other young and promising researchers from Belgium. They contributed in the panel I chaired on Nation, Conflict and History. They are Christophe Collard (Free University of Brussels) and Gertjan Willems (Ghent University). Collard offered a broad analysis of the broadcast of the ‘fake’ current affairs program ‘Bye, Bye, Belgium’, linking it to the paradigm of ‘remediation’. He studied the characteristics of the program and its response by the audience. Willems studied the film ‘The Lion of Flanders’ (Claus), based in the novel of the romantic Flemish writer H. Conscience. His presentation offered not only deep analysis but also we knew about some  curiosities, like the fact that the French actors appearing in the film were all recruited among Dutch. The conference, organized by Deborah Cartmell and Claire Monk, was also a chance to know the journal ‘Adaptations’. In the conference, I presented my work on the narratives on Catalan TV about the Spanish Civil War. More here.

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