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From Franco to Freedom

The Roots of the Transition to Democracy in Spain, 1962–1982

Miguel Ángel Ruiz Carnicer is professor of Contemporary History at the University of Zaragoza (Spain). His research focuses on the Falange, universities and culture during the francoist dictatorship.

In the Series
Studies in Spanish History

This book brings together recent research by a group of specialists in history and sociology to provide a new reading of the late Franco dictatorship, especially in relation to its political culture. The authors focus on the election of local, trade union and national representatives, the work of the first Spanish sociologists, the struggle over administrative reform, the role of the media and the intellectuals, as well as the evolution of the dictatorship's political class and its response to the regime's decline. Not only are the politics of the late dictatorship scrutinised, but also the mechanisms that were deployed to control the fast-changing society of the 1960s and 1970s.

In examining the late Franco period, the contributors do not believe that it contained the seeds of Spain's later democratization, but maintain that certain sectorial regime initiatives – electoral and political changes, an evolving discourse and an interest in political processes outside Spain – made many Spaniards aware of the dictatorship's contradictions and limitations, thereby encouraging its subsequent political and social evolution. This transformation is compared with the latter stages of the parallel dictatorship in Portugal.

The great majority of Spaniards felt that the embrace of democratic freedoms and integration into the European Community was the only way forward during the Transition. But the shift from dictatorship to democracy from the 1960s onwards in Spain needs to be understood in relation to the multitude of political and social changes that took place – despite the opposition of Franco and the 'bunker' mentality of the regime. These changes manifested in a complex interaction between internal and external factors, which eventually resulted in the transformation of Spanish society itself.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-850-3
Hardback Price: £65.00 / $79.95
Release Date: May 2018
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



  1. Introduction: From Franco to Freedom, Miguel Ángel Ruiz Carnicer
  2. The Sociologists and the Analysis of Social (and Political) Change in Spain between 1962 and 1982, María Luz Morán Calvo-Sotelo
  3. The Blue Factor: Political and Personal Culture of Falangist Origin under the Franco Regime and the Transition to Democracy (1962– 1977), Miguel Ángel Ruiz Carnicer
  4. Voting under Franco: the Elections of the Family Procuradores to the Cortes and the Limits to the Opening Up of Francoism, Carlos Domper Lasús
  5. Public Opinion and Political Culture in a Post-Fascist Dictatorship (1957–77), Javier Muñoz Soro
  6. Marcelismo (and Late Francoism): Unsuccessful Authoritarian Modernisations, Manuel Loff
  7. Paving the Way for the Transition? The Administrative Reform of the late 1950s, Nicolás Sesma Landrín
  8. The Dismantling of Spanish ‘Fascism’: Socio-Political Attitudes during the Late Franco Dictatorship (1962–76), Claudio Hernández Burgos

The Editor and Contributors

Contents to Follow

Taken as a whole, the collection makes an effective case for the nuanced position that, while the evolution of regime policies and attitudes did not constitute an intentional path to political transition, it was a key piece of the puzzle in explaining the non-linear path ‘from Franco to freedom’.
Reviewed by Pamela Radcliff, University of California, San Diego, in the Bulletin of Spanish Studies (Spring 2020)

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