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The University of Southampton

SPAN2011 Myths and Realities of Contemporary Spain

Module Overview

Taking the death of Franco and the Spanish democratic transition as a starting point, this module analyses the key social and political transformations that Spain has undergone in the last four decades.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Models of transitional politics and processes of democratisation in the Hispanic world
  • The process of democratic transition in Spain in the late 20th century
  • The roles of class, gender, race, ethnicity and political identities in the forging of Spanish democracy
  • The relationship between the ‘state’ and the ‘nation’ in the context of the Spanish ‘State of Autonomies’
  • General knowledge of the history and politics of Spain in the twentieth century
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Read and discuss new and sometimes complex ideas in English and Spanish
  • Work effectively in a group, as well as independently
  • Develop further your skills of critical analysis, in both spoken and written form
  • Apply knowledge and skills gained in the course of the module to the conception and preparation of your year abroad investigative project, with the possibility of further development of themes and concepts studied in level 4 modules
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Carry out critical analysis and evaluation of a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • Critically analyze Spanish press and media discourses.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the meaning of ‘democracy’ and ‘reconciliation’ in the context of ‘transitional politics’.
  • Apply these concepts critically to the study of the Spanish democratic transition and the post-francoist period
  • Assess the relationship between key concepts such as ‘democracy’, ‘civil society’, ‘historical memory’ and ‘the nation-state’ contemporary Spain.
  • Identify and understand social and political ruptures and continuities in post- Francoist Spain.


Taking the late Francoist period and the Spanish democratic transition as starting points, this module analyses the key social and political transformations that Spain has undergone in the last four decades: establishment of a parliamentary monarchy; forging of a secular civil society with equal rights for men and women; incorporation to the European Community; accelerated processes of modernisation; reconfiguration of territorial administration; recuperation and promotion of regional identities; globalisation; and reversal of migration flows. In exploring the extent and impact of these changes, the module seeks to identify ruptures and continuities with regards to Spain’s recent past and engage with questions such as: Why are the horrors of the Spanish civil war still haunting the country? Why does the Basque conflict remain unresolved? Why is domestic violence so prevalent in democratic Spain? How is Spain dealing with the recent phenomenon of immigration? In order to seek answers to these questions the module draws on a variety of primary and secondary sources from different disciplines including theoretical readings, historical narratives, oral histories, press articles, documentaries, film and music

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • 1 weekly double period lecture/seminar. Learning activities include • Independent critical reading. • Viewing and analising relevant documentaries and films. Innovative or special features of this module • Press/media analysis project

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Giles Tremlett (2006). Ghosts of Spain. 

John Hopper (2006). The New Spaniards. 

Paloma Aguilar (2002). Memory and Amnesia: The role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy. 

Helen Graham and Jo Labanyi (eds.) (1995). Spanish Cultural Studies: An introduction. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Class participation 10%
Essay  (1500 words) 35%
Oral presentation  ( words) 20%
Practical task  (2000 words) 35%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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