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Working Paper 184

Working Paper 184

Title
Time without Labour: the past and historical representation in the Spanish railways

Author
Natalia Buier

Department
Department 'Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia'

Year of publication
2017

Number of pages
21

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Working Paper 184

Abstract
This article presents an ethnographic analysis of representations of the past in a key public sector – the Spanish railways. This sector has undergone a series of fundamental transformations in the recent past, primary among which has been opening the previously state-controlled monopoly up to competition. As part of a broader investigation of historical memory and its constitutive effects, I analyse railway historiography and museum displays as ethnographic objects. This analysis reveals the inner workings of forms of historical representation that, I argue, marginalize labour as a social and political actor. These forms of representation have been instrumental for pushing through a set of transformations that take the appearance of an inevitable process of modernization.

 
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