Sueño nuestro (our dream): Anarchism and anthropology in a Spanish village
The Spanish Anarchist Movement (1868–1939) was one of the most novel social movements of its era. Its unconventionality has kept it from being adequately analyzed by conventional historical, sociological and political approaches. Spanish anarchism's unique use of an activist interpretation of the concept of culture and its focus on the cultural character of the practices of everyday life as the critical site for revolutionary social change are better analyzed through an anthropological approach that privileges this locus. This study, based on almost two years of field research, is an ethno/oral history of the Spanish Anarchist movement as it was enacted and has been remembered and forgotten in one Spanish village with a notable anarchist past. I conducted research in relevant archives throughout Spain and collected local tellings of the town's anarchist past from both anarchist and non-anarchist survivors from the movement's 1930s heyday and also from younger town residents. As a resident myself, I noted other ways in which the anarchist past has been inscribed, literally and figuratively, in the town's cultural landscape. In the course of my research the affinity between anthropology and anarchism proved to be more than just a nice fit between a method of study and an object of study and therefore while this study began as anthropology it ended up being also about anthropology. Since both endeavors drew from the same intellectual and scientific paradigms and addressed the same sociopolitical conditions, I have conjoined a history of anarchism with a history of anthropology in order to offer a reconsideration of both. Finally in working from present-day recollections and understandings of the anarchist past I have investigated the historical legacy of the movement, providing new insights into both how the movement operated daring its heyday and how it exists today as a contemporary phenomenon. This study contributes to current debates about contested histories, collective memory, cultural identity, social theory and social resistance.