Cultures of Anyone

BookOpen AccessCultures of Anyone

Cultures of Anyone

Studies on Cultural Democratization in the Spanish Neoliberal Crisis

Contemporary Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures, 11


July 21st, 2015


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The text of Cultures of Anyone is freely available online at the Modern Languages Open platform
Cultures of Anyone studies the emergence of collaborative and non-hierarchical cultures in the context of the Spanish economic crisis of 2008. It explains how peer-to-peer social networks that have arisen online and through social movements such as the Indignados have challenged a longstanding cultural tradition of intellectual elitism and capitalist technocracy in Spain. From the establishment of a technocratic and consumerist culture during the second part of the Franco dictatorship to the transition to neoliberalism that accompanied the ‘transition to democracy’, intellectuals and ‘experts’ have legitimized contemporary Spanish history as a series of unavoidable steps in a process of ‘modernization’. But when unemployment skyrocketed and a growing number of people began to feel that the consequences of this Spanish ‘modernization’ had increasingly led to precariousness, this paradigm collapsed. In the wake of Spain’s financial meltdown of 2008, new ‘cultures of anyone’ have emerged around the idea that the people affected by or involved in a situation should be the ones to participate in changing it. Growing through grassroots social movements, digital networks, and spaces traditionally reserved for ‘high culture’ and institutional politics, these cultures promote processes of empowerment and collaborative learning that allow the development of the abilities and knowledge base of ‘anyone’, regardless of their economic status or institutional affiliations.


'An indispensable study for anyone wishing to understand the meaning of radical democracy in Spain and in the world... it is, indeed, one of the best examples of the possibilities that Iberian Cultural Studies may offer.'
Luis Martin-Cabrera, UCSD

Author Information

Luis Moreno-Caballud is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
PART I Cultural and Neoliberal 'Modernization'23
1 Cultural Aspects of the Neoliberal Crisis: Genealogies of a Fractured Legitimacy25
1.1. Crisis of a Hierarchical, Individualistic Cultural Model25
1.2. Enlightened Gardeners, or, the Power of Knowledge41
1.3. ‘Transplanting People’: Capitalist Modernization and Francoist Technocracy49
1.4. Pedagogy of ‘Normalization’ and Cultural Elites61
2 ‘Standardizing’ from Above: Experts, Intellectuals, and Culture Bubble72
2.1. Experts in Something and Experts in Everything: The Two Pillars of the Culture of the Transition72
2.2. Men Who Smoke and Men Who Drink (or, Culture, that Modern Invention)81
2.3. The Engineer’s Great Style: A Depoliticized Aesthetic Modernity90
2.4. ‘Normalization,’ Deactivation, and Culture Bubble in the CT97
3 Arrested Modernities: The Popular Cultures that Could Have Been113
3.1. Arrested Modernities I: A Culture Rooted in Tradition Faces the Transition113
3.2. Words in the Kitchen: Subsistence Cultures and Productivist Cultures121
3.3. Arrested Modernities II: Postwar Cultures and Creative Consumption129
PART II Cultural Democratizations143
4 Internet Cultures as Collaborative Creation of Value145
4.1. Genealogies and Contradictions of Digital Cultures145
4.2. Unpaid Work and Creation of Value on the Internet154
4.3. The Pleasure of Doing, and Telling What One Does: Self-Representation of Internet Cultures164
4.4. Two Overlapping yet Clashing Value Systems174
5 Combining the Abilities of all the Anyones: The 15M Movement and its Mutations186
5.1. Anyone’s Word and the Expert’s Word: An Alliance186
5.2. Sustaining the Plaza and Beyond: Towards a New Cultural Power200
5.3. Conflict of Authorities: Intellectuals, Mass Media, and the 15M Climate213
5.4. ‘The Boxer and the Fly’: Nomadism and Sustainability after the Plazas227
6 Towards More Democratic Cultural Institutions?240
6.1. The Self-Managed Culture in its Life Spaces240
6.2. Under the Ambiguous Umbrella of the Public Sector250
6.3. Between Institution and Experimentation: Why Hasn’t There Been a Marea de la Cultura?262
6.4. ‘Making Us Be’: The Question of Forms of (Self-)Representation271
Epilogue: Cultures of Anyone: A Proposal for Encounters283
Works Cited293