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‘Spain is not Greece’: Reflections of the Hellenic crisis in Spanish political discourse

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This article investigates the narratives constructed around the Greek crisis by Spanish elite press, in the period between May 2010, the date of the first international bailout package of Greece, and June 2016, the date of the latest parliamentary elections in Spain, which registered a disappointing result for Podemos’, SYRIZA’s sister party. The victory of SYRIZA in the January 2015 elections in Greece marks a pivotal point in European politics generally and the Spanish political discourse specifically about the Hellenic crisis, as it signalled the voicing of public discontent to austerity not only through parliamentary representation but ultimately through the formation of government. From 2010 to 2015, majority party leaders in Spain insisted that ‘Spain is not Greece’, aiming to dissociate the country from the Greek counterpart on the basis of its politics, claimed to be corrupt, the level of individual responsibility of its citizens, ‘living beyond their means’ and the standing of Spain as an economic power in Europe. From 2015 until the floundering of Podemos in the 2016 elections, the elite discourse circulated the idea that Spain could become like Greece, if ruled by a populist formation similar to SYRIZA. The article critically analyses Spain’s benchmark newspapers coverage, El País and El Mundo of the crisis, and contextualizes the similarities and differences of treatment between the Greek and the Spanish cases. It does so taking into account the emergence of Podemos and the election victory of SYRIZA, both deriving from public disagreement with and dissent to national and Troika policies, which proved to have altered the political landscape and to have fundamentally destabilized the long-standing bipartisan political domination in their respective countries.
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Keywords: Greece; Podemos; SYRIZA; Spain; austerity; crisis; political discourse; populism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Greek Media & Culture is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that aims to provide a platform for debate and exploration of a wide range of manifestations of media and culture in and about Greece. The journal adopts a broad and inclusive approach to media and culture with reference to film, photography, literature, the visual arts, music, theatre, performance, as well as all forms of electronic media and expressions of popular culture. While providing a forum for the close analysis of cultural formations specific to Greece, JGMC aims to engage with broader methodological and theoretical debates, and situate the Greek case in global, diasporic and transnational contexts.
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