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Spanish Fury: Football and National Identities under Franco

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alejandro Quiroga


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This article explores the Franco dictatorship’s utilisation of football for nationalist indoctrination. It focuses on the Francoist appropriation of Spanish football victories and the promotion of a collective identity that portrayed Spaniards as ferocious, passionate and quixotic. The paper challenges the traditional view that Francoists sought to obliterate regional identities after the Spanish Civil War. As in the case of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Francoism cultivated certain types of regional identities via sports, seeking to introduce an element of populism and grass-roots activism into the dictatorship. Football was also used by the anti-Francoist opposition to foster counter-hegemonic national identities. This article analyses how Spanish democrats, Catalan regionalists and Basque nationalists found in football a suitable means to build alternative identities. The conclusions show that whereas the political nationalism fostered by the Franco regime had little impact on Spaniards, the cultural features and stereotypes associated with the Spanish nation were adopted by different sectors of society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Quiroga A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European History Quarterly

Year: 2015

Volume: 45

Issue: 3

Pages: 506-529

Print publication date: 01/07/2015

Online publication date: 05/06/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 0265-6914

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7110

Publisher: Sage Publications


DOI: 10.1177/0265691415587686


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