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Franco’s ‘Mutilated Gentlemen’: Masculinity and War Disability in Modern Spain, 1936-1976

Wright, Stephanie (2019) Franco’s ‘Mutilated Gentlemen’: Masculinity and War Disability in Modern Spain, 1936-1976. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis constitutes the first extended attempt to investigate masculine identity in Francoist Spain ‘from below’. It explores representations and experiences of the war disabled of the Spanish Civil War, who challenged Francoist propaganda’s emphasis on discipline, physical strength and self-control. Historians of war disability in the modern period beyond Spain have often discussed the marginalisation and emasculation of the maimed, who struggled to find their place in societies seeking to move on from the hardships of war. In contrast, the Civil War became central to the Francoist regime’s legitimising narrative. Under a dictatorship which depicted the conflict as a holy ‘Crusade’ against the ‘atheistic’ Second Spanish Republic, the living martyrs of the victorious Francoist army could not be left to languish in the post-war period. Francoist disabled veterans—or ‘Mutilated Gentlemen’ as they became known—thus occupied a privileged space under the dictatorship, particularly those pertaining to the officer classes. At the same time, it is important to underscore the relativity of this privilege, and the importance of the context of Civil War in framing experiences of war disability. Lower ranking soldiers did not, of course, experience repression like their defeated Republican counterparts, but the regime’s provisions were often inadequate. Many veterans eschewed military masculine ideals, and the countless examples of impoverished Francoist veterans serve to question the traditional ‘victim/vanquished’ dichotomy which often underpins studies of modern Spain. Many ‘Mutilated Gentlemen’ who did find jobs were employed in posts with few opportunities for career progression, which meant that their relative privilege declined over time, especially during and after the economic growth of the 1960s. Veterans did not, however, tend to question the regime’s authority, and their interactions with the state administration reveal the importance of paternalistic patronage structures to the consolidation of the ‘New State’, which allowed the regime to establish and maintain its legitimacy over nearly forty years.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Stephanie Wright
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2019 08:45
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2019 08:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22796

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