Best of All Possible Islands, The
Seville's Universal Exposition, the New Spain, and the New Europe
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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I am greatly indebted to the many people and institutions that have contributed to aspects of this work over the last decade and more. Financial support for research in Spain in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1998, and 2001 was provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Program for Cultural Cooperation Between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United...
PART I: Guidelines: Contemporary Ethnography and the New World Order in Spain
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From 15 April to 12 October 1992, a universal exposition, the highest category of world’s fair, was held in Seville, Spain. La Exposición Universal Sevilla 1992—commonly called Expo ’92—was located on La Isla de la Cartuja, an island (in fact, a peninsula) of previously undeveloped land that lies between two branches of the Guadalquivir River, just to the west of the historic...
PART II: Origins and Structures: The State, the Party, and the Expo
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According to the Expo ’92 Official Guide, “On 31 May 1976, H. M. King Juan Carlos I of Spain announced that a Universal Exposition was to be held to celebrate the Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of America” (see SEEUS 1992b:21). The statement, strictly speaking, is not correct. It serves as a sort of myth of origin, conveying the impression that the Expo sprang fully conceived...
PART III: Conjunctures and Conflicts: Technobureaucracy and the City
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To the ordinary visitor setting forth on the Route of Discoveries, the Expo presented itself as a bland consensual m�lange of the past and present. For all its diversity of themes, it offered nothing that was likely to shock a nine-year- old child or give much pause to any but the most skeptical of adults. Even if, as has been suggested, much of the exposition promoted a cosmopolitan...
PART IV: Pavilions and Performances: The Expo as Cultural Olympics
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While disputes between Expo organizers and Seville unfolded in the early summer of 1992, the official Expo of thronging tourist masses proceeded almost without interruption. This Expo was a “media event” in nearly every sense of the term. Just as the organizers hoped to use the Expo to “change the image of Spain” in Europe and elsewhere, the 110 or more participating...
PART V: Dispositions and Practices: The Sense of Freedom and the Politics of Daily Life
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Perhaps the most important explicit aim of the Expo was to change the image of Spain. It was generally understood that this meant convincing foreigners that Spain had emerged from decades of dictatorship and relative isolation as a thoroughly liberal, progressive, and democratic state and that the Spanish people wholeheartedly embraced the overall direction of social...
PART VI: The Aftermath
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The Expo ended as it had begun—with embittered parochial politics and elaborate official celebrations of cooperation and progress. After the furor over the season passes had subsided in late summer, most Sevillanos sought to enjoy the fair as best they could and were more concerned with the effects of the massification on the event than with the continuing squabbling among local...
Notes to the Text
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Official Documents and Publications Cited
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Page Count: 382
Illustrations: 3 maps
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: SUNY series in National Identities
Series Editor Byline: Thomas M. Wilson