The Emergence of Mass Politics in Spain
This book scrutinizes the unfolding of mass politics in Spain in the shape of the republican movement and in particular the figure of Alejandro Lerroux, who led the radical left in Barcelona in the first decade of the twentieth century. By drawing on semiotic, linguistic and psychological approaches, the author analyzes populism, anticlericalism, and the role of charismatic leadership in order to account for the transformation of Spanish political life. Most crucially, populism is reinterpreted not as a movement of protest but as a strategic means of opening up the oligarchical political system to greater participation and accountability. Issues addressed include: the emergence of public opinion, the role of the press and the limits set by electoral corruption; the life of Lerroux and the corresponding reasons for his success as a populist politician, including his duelling activities, his "noble" attributes, and the novelty of his mobilizing rhetoric; the divergences between Spanish and Catalan nationalism and why Lerroux seized on Barcelona as his flagship; and the relations between anarchists and republicans and how they conditioned the evolution of the political culture of the left.
Publication Date: 12/31/2002