Geographies of Urban Female Labor and Nationhood in Spanish Culture, 1880–1975
By studying the representation of these marginalized individuals in a diverse array of cultural artifacts, Soria contends that urban women workers symbolized the desires and anxieties of a nation caught between traditional values and rapidly shifting socioeconomic forces. Specifically, the representation of urban female work became a mode of reinforcing and contesting dominant discourses of gender, class, space, and nationhood in critical moments after 1880, when social and economic upheavals resulted in fears of impending national instability. Through these cultural artifacts Spaniards wrestled with the unresolved contradictions in the gender and class ideologies used to construct and maintain the national imaginary.
Whether for reasons of inattention or disregard of issues surrounding class dynamics, nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish literary and cultural critics have assumed that working women played only a minimal role in the development of Spain as a modern nation. As a result, relatively few critics have investigated cultural narratives of female labor during this period. Soria demonstrates that without considering the role working women played in the construction and modernization of Spain, our understanding of Spanish culture and life at that time remains incomplete.
"This excellent book revitalizes readings of familiar authors such as Emilia Pardo Bazán and Carmen Martín Gaite through a new lens . . . and it introduces us to some lesser-known authors. . . . Thoroughly researched, theoretically sophisticated, and well argued, this book is an important contribution to our understanding of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish society and fiction."—Roberta Johnson, author of Major Concepts in Spanish Feminist Theory