The “XI Encounters of Yuste” Analyse Culture and Daily Life in the Spanish Transition

The European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation together with the University of Extremadura inaugurated the “XI Encounters of Yuste. The Transition and Transitions: Culture and Daily Life in Democratic Spain” today, which will be held until tomorrow at the assembly hall of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Extremadura. (28/10/2021)

These sessions will focus on the cultural evolution as well as that of the daily customs and activities. The speakers will analyse how the permanence of some ancestral values adapted to modernisation can be discovered and how other values disappeared irreversibly, while new customs and social rites were imposed by the hand of globalisation.

The director of Yuste Foundation, Juan Carlos Moreno, participated in the opening of the course. In his speech, he affirmed that during these eleven editions we have studied the Spanish Transition and other transitions that have taken place, always with interest and curiosity but now, in addition, we must do it with militancy and respect because “today this period and its consequence, which was the Spanish Constitution of 1978, need a defence without the defence implying that we accept it as something idyllic and knowing that it had lights and shadows”, he said.

In his opinion, the Spanish Transition deserves “respect” because it derives from values that prevailed at that time such as “consensus, renunciation of political or ideological postulates and looking to the future, in the interest of the common good”. In this sense, the director of the Foundation assured that he defends the Spanish Constitution of 1978 “because it is valid, although it doesn’t please everyone, and because it has served us for many years as an instrument of coexistence.
The Constitution can and must be reformed in any aspect except one: that all we Spaniards are free and equal from the beginning to the end of our lives”.

The professor of Contemporary History at the University of Extremadura, Mario Pedro Díaz Barrado, for his part, has affirmed that the Spanish Transition is more than a time of our recent history, “it is the period that determines and conditions our present more strongly”. In this line, he pointed out that the analyses of this historical period that have been carried out throughout these courses have made us realise that “within the controversy, the Transition is going to be an essential period in the history of Spain for many reasons and, above all, due to the aspects we have focused this edition on, culture and daily life”, he said.

Díaz Barrado explained that, based on historical data, there is no other stage of transformation, change and modernisation more intense in the recent history of Spain. In his opinion, it is a period that has been transformed according to his interpretation as time passed, and he added that “what was then the perfect transition is now the Regime of 1978; what was wonderful then, what was sold abroad, is now reviled; it has become a fixture, a rinse”. For Díaz Barrado, the analysis of culture and everyday life that will be carried out in this edition will reveal that “the two extremes are wrong; that there were many difficulties to carry out the project of change, that there was a lot of will and decision and that many things that we enjoy today and assume as one more thing of our daily life were achieved”, he concluded.

Finally, the Vice-rector of University Extension of the University of Extremadura, Juan Carlos Iglesias Zoido, said that the attention of the individual to the daily life contributes with a transversal vision of society. “It offers a more accurate picture of the characteristics that make up his everyday life and helps us understand the complexities of the social fabric”, he explained. In his opinion, this area which the eleventh edition of the course will focus on, “is a fundamental element to understand the true scope and depth of this exciting episode as the one that conforms the Transition that Spain underwent after the Franco dictatorship”, he concluded.

The sessions will address aspects such as the rural-urban tension in the Transition; the evolution of moral and religious values; the cultural emergence through the mass media; and, of course, the effect that the establishment of the new democratic system and its institutions had on the daily evolution of the Spaniards in a few years of intense changes.

Some of the speakers who will participate in the “XI Encounters of Yuste. The Transition and Transitions: Culture and Daily Life in Democratic Spain” are the professor of Contemporary History at the University of Seville, Ángeles González Fernández; the professor of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, José Antonio Castellanos López; the professor of Contemporary History at the University of Extremadura, Enrique Moradiellos García; the Spanish professor at the University of Rennes, Dolores Thion Soriano-Mollá; the journalist and university professor, Arcadi Espada, among others.