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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

David Rodríguez-Solás

Subject Categories

Film and Media Studies | Spanish Literature | Theatre and Performance Studies | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


This dissertation analyzes plays and documentary films that illustrate the forced displacement of urban citizens from Barcelona’s oldest neighborhoods El Raval and El Casc Antic between 1964 and 2014. Grounded on theories from Sociology and Urban and Cultural Studies, the project surveys the various political mechanisms that enforce and legitimize the territorial, cultural, and corporeal expropriations that deploy tactics such as the criminalization of poverty and the passing of local laws restricting the use of public spaces. Through a close analysis of documentaries such as Ciutat Morta (Ortega y Artigas, 2014), El forat (Peña, 2004), En construcción (Guerín, 2001), De nens (Jordà, 2003), and Oscuros portales (Peña, 2010), as well as plays such as Benet i Jornet’s La trilogia del Raval (1964, 1978, 2000) and Mayorga’s Hamelin (2005), I argue that considering this cultural production allows to better understand urban space in the age of neoliberalist market policies. While the urban spaces of Barcelona have traditionally been praised and critiqued as successful models by technocrats and architectural and urban theorists, my project suggests that more contemporary frameworks of precarity, as communal urban identities that have grown of the 15M movement, are important tools to frame the real and symbolic meanings of contemporary urban phenomena such as gentrification and the displacement of impoverished vulnerable populations. To conclude, the dissertation shows the strategies used by these precarious communities to resist displacement and the activist strategies employed by these products to go beyond the boundaries of cultural discourse.