Class, culture, and conflict in Barcelona, 1898-1937 by Chris Ealham

By Chris Ealham

This e-book investigates city clash, well known protest and social regulate in Barcelona throughout the interval 1898-1937.

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Extra resources for Class, culture, and conflict in Barcelona, 1898-1937

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3 Class hierarchies in the street Source: Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular Consciousness formation was very complex, molecular and dynamic, whereby individual and collective experiences of the social and spatial orders were accumulated and refined through a process of reflexive engagement. 34 The result was a communal reservoir of class-based experiential knowledge, a refraction of everyday urban practices, the product of the sharp learning curve of everyday oppression and exploitation. 35 In its most elementary form, this sense of class was more emotional than political: it represented a powerful sense of local identity, an esprit de quartier, stemming from the extensive bonds of affection generated by the supportive rituals, solidarities and direct social relationships of neighbourhood life.

The ongoing political disenfranchisement of the working class ensured that ‘traditional’ forms of street protest retained considerable attraction for workers right into the twentieth century. There was a strong material justification for the endurance of this direct action protest culture. In the light of the precarious existence facing much of the urban working class, any deterioration in economic conditions might elicit a violent response. 43 Often, these direct action protests were combined with some kind of self-help strategy.

Although by 1919 this ratio stood at one policeman per 700 inhabitants, the Barcelona constabulary was still small by European standards. Furthermore, chronic under-funding and poor administration hampered the operational efficiency of the police. Among the underpaid ranks of the police, demoralisation and corruption were widespread. 98 The police force compensated for its lack of professionalism and absence of roots in and intelligence about civil society with a brutal readiness to exceed its remit.

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