Reconquest 2.0: the Spanish far right and the mobilization of historical memory during the 2019 elections

Marc Esteve Del Valle*, Julia Costa López

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This paper brings together the literature on far right parties, medievalism and opinion leadership in order to more closely interrogate the memory politics of the far right. We address two broad questions: what does the mobilization of distant-past events do in far right discourse? And how do these memories circulate online? We unpack one specific case study: the mobilization of the topic ‘La Reconquista’ (The Reconquest) among the computer-mediated networks of one Europe’s newest national-populist parties: Spain’s VOX. First, we show three strategies through which the Reconquest trope reproduced a conservative historiography that creates a transhistorical, exclusionary and Catholic Spanish nation: the creation of memory sites, the glorification of heroes and a specifically antagonistic memory. Second, we show that the one-word nature of the historical narrative, through its Twitter circulation, gave it a crucial ability to mobilize in the context of an election. Finally, drawing from opinion leader theory we show how these Reconquest narratives were put forward by traditional elite actors such as political parties and newspapers, but relied on the role of ordinary citizens to spread and circulate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Politics and Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7-Apr-2022

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