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Title: ¿Un yo moderno para España? C.1830-C.1860
Other Titles: A Modern Self for Spain? C.1830-C.1860
Author(s): Ginger, Andrew
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Editor(s): Blanco, Alda
Thomson, Guy
Citation: Ginger A (2008) ¿Un yo moderno para España? C.1830-C.1860. In: Blanco Alda, Thomson Guy (ed.). Visiones del liberalismo: Politica, identidad y cultura en la España del siglo XIX, Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de València, pp. 121-136.
Keywords: modernity modernidad
subjectivity sujetividad
individualism individualismo
self identidad yo
spain españa
nineteenth-century siglo xix
romanticism romanticismo
individualism individualismo
liberalism liberalismo
progressive progresista
ros de olano
feminism feminismo
Issue Date: 2008
Abstract: The development of a significantly new and modern notion of subjecthood has been a contentious topos of nineteenth-century history. This essay seeks to tackle in a spirit of greater openness to the intellectual possibilities of the time nineteenth-century continental European, and specifically Spanish notions of Liberal subjecthood. The particular focus is political thought of the second third of the nineteenth century, and some of its wider ramifications in cultural outlooks. It is fair to say that in cultural and intellectual historiography pertinent to Spain there has been much baiting of The Liberal Subject, accused, one way or another, of failing to provide true liberation. This is ironic, because there was no such thing as The Liberal Subject or The Bourgeois Subject. Instead, even within a single field like political philosophy, there was a plural proliferation of possible subjects. Institutional and class forces proved unable to establish a single hegemonic model. The diverse post-revolutionary versions of the liberal subject were explicitly responses to a fundamental historical condition of instability and conflict, occasioned by the absence of a legitimatized stable regime in politics, society, and economics. It was the difficulty of resolving that conflict in such a way as to establish a stable free society that motivated the diversity of ways in which the collective and individual subject could be imagined. These subjects were not instrumentally class-based, nor forms of false-consciousness denying humanity’s truly historical condition, nor did they suppose (in Jaume’s words) the effacement of the individual behind a collective order. Rather, they should be understood as efforts by historical agents at once to establish a practically viable liberal government, and to avoid the intellectual pitfalls of both traditionalism and natural rights theory. But there was no magic bullet, no right answer to the questions posed, and so the plurality proliferated.
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