Sufrir, salir, sobrevivir: Cultural Responses to the 2008 Social and Financial Crisis in Spain

Britland, Joanne, Spanish - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Anderson, Andrew, AS-Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, University of Virginia

This dissertation introduces various cultural reponses to the 2008 social and financial crisis in Spain. In particular, the project identifies key outcomes of the actual crash and demonstrates how cultural works have depicted the catastrophe. My work underscores other functions of these artistic manifestations ranging from providing catharsis to encouraging protest and activism. The dissertation explores multiple cultural phenomena including novel, theatre, film, television, comic, and street performance. It offers the first critical analysis of many of these texts.

In the Introduction, I highlight the historical background leading up to the 2008 recession and discuss the consequences of the disaster. I point to culture as a means to move beyond numbers and figures in order to illuminate the human suffering and response to the crash. In this chapter, I offer an overview of previous scholarship on the crisis and cultural production and point to the need for an ongoing conversation. I underscore that my dissertation fills a void in the study of these phenomena by providing an analysis of multiple mediums.

Chapter One discusses the first thematic response to the crisis: suffering and marginality. It demonstrates the human dimension of the disaster through analyses of the play Iphigenia en Vallecas, Isaac Rosa’s comic, Aquí vivió, and Icíar Bollaín’s film, El olivo. Chapter Two centers on the mass Spanish emigration that occurred after the advent of the crisis. The chapter provides an overview of recent Spanish migration patterns and how these are represented through culture. Venirse arriba (2014), by Borja Cobeaga and Diego San José, Blitz (2015), by David Trueba, the film Perdiendo el norte (2015), directed by Nacho Velilla, as well as the television series, Buscando el norte (2016), created by Nacho Velilla, Oriol Capel, David Olivas, and Antonio Sánchez serve as case studies to represent this phenomenon. Chapter Three examines how culture can serve as a mode of protest through an analysis of María Folguera’s novel, Los primeros días de Pompeya (2016), Alberto San Juan’s play, Masacre: Una historia del capitalismo español (2017), and the Flo6x8 flamenco flash-mob group.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Spain, 2008 Crisis, cultural production
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