Citizens and Housewives: The Problem of Female Citizenship in Spain's Transition to Democracy

Citation:

Radcliff, Pamela. 2002. “Citizens and Housewives: The Problem of Female Citizenship in Spain’s Transition to Democracy.” Journal of Social History 36 (1): 77–100. doi:10.1353/jsh.2002.0106.

Author: Pamela Radcliff

Abstract:

"Citizens and Housewives" explores the contradictions surrounding the emergence of new forms of democratic citizenship for women during Spain's most recent transition to democracy in the 1970s. Most Spaniards probably agreed that the traditionalist image of Francoist womanhood was anachronistic, but creating a new "democratic female citizen" proved to be a conflictive and ultimately unresolved process. In order to explore the dynamic space where female citizenship was being reconstructed, this article examines the role of women's housewife associations in the 1970s, both as protagonists and as discursive subjects. On the one hand, these associations provided an arena in which new citizenship practices could be forged. In particular, their members acted out a new model of the activist housewife citizen who defended consumer rights in the public sphere. However, as a discursive category, the housewife-citizen of these associations could not find a place in the transition. While women's "different" roles as mothers, housewives and neighbors provided an acceptable path into civil society under the Franco regime, the democratic discourse ignored the housewives' associations as relics, not vanguards. For the many Spanish women who were housewives, this discursive paradox offered no path into the new democracy. Instead of a clear entry to a democratic citizenship there were only contradictions and confusing messages.

Topics: Citizenship, Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Governance, Households, Political Participation Regions: Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Spain

Year: 2002

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.