The Reinvention of a Catalan Community
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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...not long ago, Mieres, set in a valley in the lower reaches of the Pyrenees about an hour from the Mediterranean, was visibly in decline. Many of its houses were vacant, falling into disrepair and ruin. Its fields and meadows were neglected. the younger generation was moving to the towns and cit-ies, and by the early 1990s their parents and grandparents had come to be-...
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La Guerra, La Misèria: the lingering wretchedness of civil war, the crip-pling hunger, the strife that cut deeply into the heart of families and neighborhoods, the humiliation of defeat and the reprisals exacted by the battered victors—all of these left villages like Mieres with few of the material, po liti cal, and emotional resources essential to community ...
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Rural nostalgia has always been central to Cata lan ideologies of inde-pendent nationhood. Visions of a lost countryside converge in pairal-isme, the ideals of the patrician family estate, which linger on in urban dreams about landscape, national identity, a sense of belonging, and more recently the desire for a (sec ond) rural home. but these persisting, ...
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Coming to terms with a past as traumatic as that of Mieres involves much more than telling a convincing story. At its core, history is sen-sational, drawing its force from bodily experience. In the making, his-tory is usually mute, a sequence of actions and experiences that only later are affirmed as narrative and then text. the connections with reli-...
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...the most radical threat to the survival of Mieres has been the loss of its human fertility, an interruption of the generational flow on which life in all its aspects ultimately depends. the hemorrhaging of youth from the countryside to the expanding towns and cities began before the epoch of the misèria and continued steadily through the decades ...
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...the ideal of the self- sufficient family farm is deeply rooted in Cata lan memory and in the traditions of autonomy that inspire nationalism. It survives in the dreams of the young “neorurals” who have struggled to make organic gardens on the abandoned terraces above the valley, but the old, intensive polyculture is mostly gone, replaced by agro- ...
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Communities are creatures in time and space. In the simplest terms, Mieres today consists of natives and newcomers: people whose roots have been tangled together in the valley for generations, and people who have arrived recently from many different places. but time and space also distinguish resident and expatriate Mierencs; and among the ...
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...the 1980s brought a shift in the Ajuntament, the elected government in Mieres, away from an older and more conservative oligarchy toward a much younger cadre explicitly interested in change. the funds for de-velopment came mainly from outside, from the governments of Cata-lonia and spain and from the european Union, and increasingly it was ...
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Mieres is being reconstructed physically, a process in which the tensions of past, present, and future are visibly apparent. Village architecture to-day struggles to resolve a collision between the desire for the amenities of a modern home and romantic visions of timeless rural tradition. but the notion of the immutable village house is an alien myth: ironically, ...
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...there is a widespread pub lic assumption that communities today are made mainly by large- scale external forces: government policy, global economic and ecological change, the extension of communications out from centers to peripheries, and so on. this book has focused on how communities also make themselves over the long term, in ways ...
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Page Count: 255
Illustrations: 25 illus
Publication Year: 2012