Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Basque Ghosts, Spanish Spectres: Jon Juaristi's Cambio de destino and the Self-fashioning of a (Still) Nationalist Intellectual

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2014), 91, (4), 399–416.

Abstract

This article examines controversial Basque writer Jon Juaristi's autobiography Cambio de destino: Memorias (2006). Juaristi employs a metaphor of haunting as he narrates his rejection of the Basque nationalist legacy he inherited from his elders and his subsequent adoption of an alternative, purportedly ‘non-nationalist’, lineage. To do this, he constructs an opposition between two types of ghosts. He characterizes Basque nationalist ghosts as dangerous ancestral voices constantly threatening to re-emerge and seduce new generations of young men into fighting for an ethnic nationalism incompatible with democracy. In contrast, the non-nationalist ghosts that Juaristi opts to join become spectral when they dismiss the ancestral voices, defend democracy, and consequently disappear from the unwelcoming nationalist community. Informed by Avery Gordon's theory of the ghost as a marginalized social figure, I reveal how the Spanish nationalist discourses to which Juaristi adheres blind him to the ghosts at the margins of his own narrative.

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Mueller, Stephanie