Contemporary Spanish women's agency in the real and virtual city
This thesis explores ways in which women's agency has been theorised and
developed within the Spanish city in general and Barcelona in particular
between the Transition and the early twenty-first century.
It argues that women and feminists in particular have worked to change city
cultures for the benefit of their gender, despite the tendency to conceal such
agency in both feminist urbanism and dominant accounts of the regeneration of
Barcelona. It maintains that women's positive experiences and the effects of
their agency on the city, as well as the disadvantages they encounter, should be
the focus of analysis of city cultures. Chapter One explores the ways in which
some contemporary feminism have come to focus on the city as a site of female
agency. Chapters Two and Three explore ways in which women have used and
resignified urban resources to press for greater autononomy and for their
contributions to city life to be valued more highly. These chapters also
acknowledge the ways in which women have asserted their agency by both
contesting unitary narratives of city life, and by challenging inequitable forms
of urban organization that do not take account of their needs and aspirations.
The focus on revealing women's agency where it has been concealed or
misrecognized in dominant accounts of city cultures continues in Chapter Four
with an exploration of what some leading Spanish feminist webmistresses have
contributed to the development of the virtual city. Virtual cities are conceived
of as web sites that mediate information relating to pre-existing Spanish cities
and as those that use the city as a metaphor to organize the site's construction.
It is argued that, dystopic readings of the nature of virtual cities
notwithstanding, several Spanish feminists use such spaces ethically, with the
express purpose of supporting other women.