Working Paper 184

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

Natalia Buier

Department 'Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia'

Year of publication

Number of pages

Working Paper 184

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.

Go to Editor View