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Gender and Violence in Spanish Culture

From Vulnerability to Accountability


Edited By María José Gámez Fuentes and Rebeca Maseda García

For the true exercise of citizenship to occur, gender violence must be eradicated, as it is not an interpersonal problem, but an attack on the very concept of democracy. Despite increasing social awareness and legal measures taken to fight gender violence, it is still prevalent worldwide. Even in a country such as Spain, praised in the UN Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women (2010) for its advanced approach on gender violence, the legal framework has proved insufficient and deeper sociocultural changes are needed. This book presents, in this respect, groundbreaking investigations in the realm of politics, activism, and cultural production that offer both a complex picture of the agents involved in its transformation and a nuanced panorama of initiatives that subvert the normative framework of recognition of victims of gender violence. As a result, the book chapters articulate a construction of the victim as a subject that reflects and acts upon his/her experience and vulnerability, and also adopt perspectives that frame accountability within the representational tradition, the community, and the state.

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Chapter One: To Conceptualize Is to Politicize: Why Spain Has Acted as a Pioneer Regarding Gender Violence (Ana de Miguel Álvarez)


chapter one

To Conceptualize Is to Politicize

Why Spain Has Acted as a Pioneer Regarding Gender Violence

Ana de Miguel Álvarez

We propose a reflection on the so-called “Spanish miracle” during the first decades after the restoration of democracy. The relevant question is why Spain in a relatively short period of time ceased to be an “underdeveloped” country in relation to gender equality to be a pioneering one that developed policies such as the Integral Gender-based Violence Law, the Equality Law, and the Same-Sex Marriage Law.

We propose to accomplish this reflection from the spheres of philosophy and thought. Thus, we will expose the process of redefinition of reality that enabled the creation of a new conceptual framework in Spain in order to delineate and spread the idea of violence as a structural problem in society. This problem had to be dealt with not only by means of the penal code but also by contributing to a change of perspective and mentality. The internal theoretical discussions within the feminist movement are many: the debate between equality-based feminism and difference-based feminism, and the debate between feminism and power, and feminism and the State. We believe those dialogues, and the influence of sound theorists from the Spanish feminist movement who dedicated their strengths to clarify both feminist thought and demands, were decisive factors in social change. So were the positive relations, or at least the close relations, between theorists or epistemological leaders,...

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