Cities of concrete: literature, film and urbanization in the Franco period (1939-1975)

Steden van beton
01 October 2018 → 30 September 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Literatures in Spanish
Franco verstedelijking
Project description

From the late 1940s, cities in Spain began to grow rapidly. The mass migration of rural inhabitants
resulted in the emergence of slums and shantytowns in the outskirts of the cities. The Franco
regime, initially hostile to urban areas, which it saw as antithetical to its vision of society, sought to
combat this phenomenon and developed a series of urban plans in an attempt to regulate—and
segregate—the city. The urban discourses of the period were complex, however, and the
government also encouraged, and facilitated, the construction of massive and uniform apartment
complexes, which changed the face of the city. Unsurprisingly, cultural production in this period
does not ignore these radical transformations. Throughout the Franco dictatorship, novelists and
filmmakers interrogated aspects of the new city, often using novel forms and narrative techniques
to do so, such as neorealism, science fiction, etc. The goal of this project is to analyse in what ways
these narratives engaged with the Francoist city. It will argue that literature and film did not
merely reflect the changing city. Rather, novelists and filmmakers actively participated in the
creation of the imaginary around the city, by adopting, subverting and challenging urban
discourses of the time. By looking at both Madrid and Barcelona, the project will seek to provide a
full picture of the cultural reactions to Spain’s large-scale urbanization during the Franco period.