Theses Doctoral

Zones of Influence: The Production of Madrid in Early Franco Spain

Winkel, Adam Lee

Within Spanish cultural studies, urban studies have become increasingly popular in the last twenty years. While this literature covers a wide range of Spanish locales and historical periods, there are still few comprehensive analyses of the production of Madrid's urban space between the Civil War and the economic boom of the 1960s. This dissertation contributes to the field through the examination of the symbolic production and use of Madrid during the first decades of the Franco dictatorship. I argue that the disciplining of Madrid's urban space was a means of organizing the capital's citizens into ordered subjects during a time of transition. This process was carried out primarily through the creation of expectations of how the spaces around the urban subject were best lived. My analytical approach is based on case studies and close readings of films, novels, and official documents such as speeches, maps, laws, and urban policies that were produced during the 1940s and 50s. It is an interdisciplinary study of the disciplining of Madrid and its inhabitants. The dissertation is organized spatially; each chapter focuses on a different aspect of Madrid's urban fabric, which extends outward in a series of concentric circles. My first chapter, "Home Life: Domestic Struggles in Comedic Film," deals with the most intimate human space, the home. Four films, Esa pareja feliz (dir. Juan Antonio Bardem and Luis García Berlanga, 1951), El inquilino (dir. José Antonio Nieves Conde, 1957), La vida por delante (dir. Fernando Fernán Gómez, 1958), and El pisito (dir. Marco Ferreri, 1959) illustrate how pressures of ownership transformed the home into a powerful tool of control and homogenization by blurring the lines between public and private space. In Chapter 2, "A Wandering Man: Fragmentation and Discipline in La colmena," I show that this tension spread to the city streets portrayed in Camilo José Cela's novel (1951), where fragmentation and separation worked to break down the threat of collective action and caused individuals to search for a productive role in society. In the 1950s, the push of hunger and the pull of industrialization drew migrants to Madrid in search of jobs and material comforts, only to find themselves displaced to the periphery of the capital, reinforcing their marginal status. This demographic transformation forms the basis for my third chapter, "No Limits! The City in Surcos and Los golfos," in which I analyze two key films from the decade, José Antonio Nieves Conde's Surcos (1951) and Carlos Saura's Los golfos (1959). Finally, Chapter Four, "'Ya se aburren de tanta capital': Leisure, Language, and Law in El Jarama" examines Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio's novel (1956) to explore how citizens looking for relief from the pressures of city life in the surrounding countryside only found that this leisure space was under the control of its own disciplinary forces. The novels and films that I include in this study demonstrate how the discipline of the Spanish capital extended to all of the city's zones to create a model of urban citizenship that blurred the lines between pubic and private space and between individual and collective subjects.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Medina, Alberto
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 3, 2014