‘Everyday Life’ and the History of Dictatorship in Southern Europe
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Ferris, K., & Hernández Burgos, C. (2022). ‘Everyday Life’ and the History of Dictatorship in Southern Europe. European History Quarterly, 52(2), 123–135. [https://doi.org/10.1177/02656914221085120]
Dictatorships are of course put into effect from ‘on high’, by the dictators themselves and the loyal individuals who support and enable them. However, in addition to being decreed and imposed ‘from above’, dictatorships are also effectively enacted ‘from below’, in the local spaces and everyday cultures inhabited and performed day-by-day by the people who live through them. Local representatives of the dictatorial state – party officials, civil servants, police officers, and so on – and those with semi-official positions of trust – for example, doctors, midwives, university professors, teachers and journalists – are charged with putting into practice the intended aims of the dictator, but in the process of doing so must absorb and interpret these aims, leading to their potential distortion or modification. Crucially, dictatorships are experienced subjectively by the individuals who live within their borders, who also, through their agency, actions, practices and attitudes, have some capacity – albeit heavily circumscribed in many ways – to contribute to the making – and potentially to the unmaking – of dictatorship. The basic ‘unit of experience’ of dictatorship, therefore, is locally and subjectively bound.