Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Romance Languages

First Advisor

Luis Moreno-Caballud


This dissertation, “National Fantasies: Dispositifs in the Audiovisual Storytelling of Post-dictatorship

Spain (1975-2015)”, focuses on the relationship between ideological discourse and audiovisual narratives about the post-Franco period in Spain. Following Fredric Jameson (“modernity is always a concept of otherness,” A Singular Modernity, 211), I argue that the period under review experienced a very disruptive process due to the country’s anxious obsession with displaying its modernity through symbolic representation, while ignoring more concrete structural issues like the country’s sociopolitical stagnation. As Jo Labanyi pointed out (Memory and Modernity in Democratic Spain: The Difficulty of Coming to Terms with the Spanish Civil War, 89), the Spanish modernization process imposed a consensus narrative based on historical oblivion.

To that end, I analyze the discursive rhetoric of the modernizing project in Spain —as I designate the recent democratic period (1975-2015)—through those audiovisual dispositifs that have been the subject of the audiovisual storytelling of the period. I follow Giorgio Agamben's use of 'apparatus,' that is, as the element able to determine, control or “ensure gestures, behaviors, opinions and discourses of living beings. Not only prisons, asylums, the panopticon, schools, confession, factories, disciplines but also the language itself" (What Is an Apparatus, 2009). With the notable exception of the main voice of the Transition —the newspaper El País— I argue that this period gives prominence to the audiovisual dispositif as the medium and language of the metanarrative of contemporary Spain. From the persistence of Francoist newsreels and documentaries —the so-called NO-DO— to the most recent visual processes of spectacularization that started with the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, the production of images has been the hegemonic strategy of the democratic period in such way that I study multiformat genres and archives in order to analyze the media specificity of each expression: newsreels, documentaries, movies, artistic prototypes and groups, video art innovations, mass media events, and new digital media, among others.

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