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Identity, Legitimacy and Democratic Continuities and Disruptions in Spain

Political Theory
José Ismael Criado Aguilera
Universidad de Granada
José Ismael Criado Aguilera
Universidad de Granada

The national-popular citizenship identity in democratic Spain was constituted in the last decades around signifiers such as consensus, modernization, economic and social development, the Welfare State or political stability. This collective imaginary was represented effectively by the main political, business, and trade union actors, and based on facts that became historical myths such as the failed coup d'état of 1981 -which supposed the definitive legitimation of the democratic process and the monarchy of Juan Carlos I-, the entry of Spain into the European Community in 1986, the Olympic Games of Barcelona in 1992, the massive demonstrations in repudiation of ETA terrorism in 1997 or the victory of the national football team in the 2010 World Cup, following a chronological order. However, the economic crisis that began in 2008 had profound consequences at the social, labor and political levels. The majority of the population, which until then had mostly low-interest rates for politics and rather apathetic and uncritical acquiescence to the status quo, underwent an accelerated transformation - at the same time that the levels of social mobilization, represented by in movements such as 15-M or colors Tides in defense of public services-moving towards attitudes, values and feelings such as indignation, questioning and rejection towards some of the main elements of the collective imagination -like the Monarchy, the Welfare State, the political parties, the European Union, the State of Autonomies, etc. - that conferred a good part of the legitimacy to the political system; elements that were already suffering a considerable deterioration in the material plane. In this situation of weakening of the hegemonic identity of constitutional Spain, two movements emerge that, reading that destitute reality, present a proposal of constituent rupture in the socio-political and identity plane on a populist logic: first, the sovereignist movement in Catalonia, which raises independence as a significant articulator of a people -the Catalan- and a horizon of collective emancipation. Secondly, the movement "Podemos", which emerged in 2014 and projects the idea of ​​a "new Spain", emerged from 15-M, which tries to resignify the concept of Homeland embodied in the "people", social rights and Plurinationality, as opposed to corrupt "old Spain", inbred and decadent. In the last year, mainly due to the political blockade in Spain and the secessionist conflict in Catalonia, we can say that we have been suffering the biggest crisis in the State since the end of the dictatorship. In this situation, it is pertinent to analyze the reality of our immediate past through the pairs identity-representation, legitimacy-legality and materiality-symbolism, to comprehend in a broad and profound way the socio-political trajectory so intense that we have been living in Spain, in order to establish hypotheses about the future of coexistence, development, and democracy in our country and on the European continent.
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