Group of Space, Society and Culture in the Contemporary Age

Department of Modern and Contemporary History
Faculty of Geography and History

The research group “Space, Society and Culture in the Contemporary Age” was created in 2006, in order to promote new knowledge on the History of Madrid, understood in its broadest sense as a city, as a metropolitan region and as the capital of the Spanish State. Basing on the updated methodological and interpretative trends developed by historiography at national and international levels, the research undertaken by the group covers a wide range of issues related to urban, social and cultural history. More specifically, the group’s research places emphasis on the interplay of the multiple demographic, economic, social, political, cultural and scientific dimensions that have shaped the historical reality of Madrid throughout the contemporary age. Since 2006, the activities carried out by the members of the group have resulted in several theses read on the aforementioned topics, as well as numerous publications and participations in scientific conferences, where the results of the same have been presented . The financing of projects in public calls and their publications, as well as the doctoral and posdoctoral scholarships obtained, give an idea of the quality of the scientific production of this research group. Finally, the research group notes an outstanding internationalisation due to its collaboration networks, in which appear researchers linked with academic centers of United Kingdom (University of Cambridge), France (Paris-Sorbonne I, II and IV) and Mexico (INAH y UAM).

The current project of the research group is based on his long career, dedicated to the analysis of the economic and social transformations of Madrid since 1860. Among its purposes, the group seek to extend its researches to the Franco regime and the transition to democracy in Spain, advancing in the knowledge of urban society to present new interpretations on capital problems in the evolution of contemporary society in Spain (migratory processes, evolution of labour markets, urban social structures, etc).
The period proposed in the project is divided into four stages. The first one is the so-called era of Ensanches, started with the approval of the urban plan designed for Madrid in 1860. The second stage covers the period between 1900 and 1936, which explores the effects of the second industrialisation and the consequences of the Great War, expressed in the transformation of urban spaces, demographic changes and in the transformation of urban economies, labour markets, lifestyles and social, political and cultural behaviours. The third stage began after the Spanish Civil War. It comprises the Franco regime, which put an end to the modernising project of the first third of the 20th century. Following a first period of stagnation, the years of economic development contemplated the recovery of urban expansion, by accelerating processes of metropolitanisation that contributed to increase the problems of spatial and social segregation and inequality. Finally, the last stage covers the transition to democracy, characterised by the strength of neighbourhood movements, the new democratic city councils and the configuration of the Autonomies. These events gave rise to the reorganisation of urban spaces and development of new services, infrastructures and public policies.