Migrants, Transnational Encounters, and Identity in Spain
Emigrant Dreams, Immigrant Borders: Migrants, Transnational Encounters, and Identity in Spain offers a new approach to the cultural history of contemporary Spain, examining the ways in which Spain's own self-conceptions are changing and multiplying in response to migrants from Latin America and Africa. In the last twenty-five years, Spain has gone from being a country of net emigration to one in which immigrants make up nearly 12 percent of the population. This rapid growth has made migrants increasingly visible in both mass media and in Spanish visual and literary culture. This book examines the origins of media discourses on immigration and takes the analysis of contemporary Spanish culture as its primary framework, while also drawing insights from sociology and history.
Emigrant Dreams, Immigrant Borders introduces readers to a wide range of recent films, journals, novels, photography, paintings, and music to reconsider contemporary Spain through its varied encounters with migrants. It follows the stages of the migrant's own journey, beginning outside Spanish territory, continuing across the border (either at the barbed-wire fences of Ceuta and Melilla or the waters of the Atlantic or the Strait of Gibraltar), and then considers what happens to migrants after they arrive and settle in Spain. Each chapter analyzes one of these stages in order to illustrate the complexity of contemporary Spanish identity. This examination of Spanish culture shows how Spain is evolving into a new space of imagination, one that can no longer be defined without the migrant - a space in which there is no unified identity but rather a new self-understanding is being born.
Vega-Durán both places Spain in a larger European context and draws attention to some of the features that, from a comparative perspective, make the Spanish case interesting and often unique. She argues that Spain cannot be understood today outside the Transatlantic and Mediterranean spaces (both real and imaginary) where Spaniards and migrants meet. Emigrant Dreams, Immigrant Borders offers a timely study of present-day Spain, and makes an original contribution to the vibrant debates about multiculturalism and nation-formation that are taking.
About the author:
Raquel Vega-Durán is associate professor in Modern Languages and Literatures at Claremont McKenna College
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