Performing Populism: Visions of Spanish Politics from 15-M to Podemos (Paperback)
Whether or not it constituted a complete break from the past, the 15-M movement's most important legacy was a more expansive notion of the popular political, one that recognized cultural representation as a mode of political articulation and as part of a political culture. In an effort to understand the populist cycle inaugurated by 15-M, and to do so beyond a series of narrated events, Performing Populism sets out to explain Spanish populism in relation to the performances of its visual politics. The book's first part examines how the 15-M movement created a new way of seeing that in turn led to a new way of doing politics in Spain. Part Two focuses on the multiple ramifications of that new vision once the people stopped marching and the movement became less visible. From electoral posters to fiction films, documentaries, and internet memes, Performing Populism traces the ways that collective Spanish identities evolved from a period when "the people" seemed to have been willingly subsumed under the apathetic ideation of the middle-class consumer to the moment in 2011 when a crisis of representation forced many into political consciousness. This rude awakening kickstarted the reconstruction of a Spanish "us" that staged exhibitions of popular will on par with and parallel to the Arab Spring, but in a European register that embraced the countercultural through art that disremembered its political past but could not escape the ghostly shadow of its history.
Ruben Perez Hidalgo is a lecturer of Spanish studies in the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Sydney.