Reservoirs of dignity and pride : schoolteachers and the creation of an educational alternative in Franco's Spain

O'Malley, Pamela (1990). Reservoirs of dignity and pride : schoolteachers and the creation of an educational alternative in Franco's Spain. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis consists, in the first place, of a social history of education in Spain, centred on the decade of the sixties which led up to the 1970 Education Act and the economic, political and social processes involved in the passing of this Act. At this time, Spain was still dominated by a fascist dictatorship but was emerging from its state of isolation created by Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War and undergoing a process of great social and economic change. As a result a unique process of 'modernisation' full of contradictions and restraints owing to the fascist nature of the Regime took place. The thesis maintains that the education system was ill prepared for this challenge and indeed played a minor role in the social transformation produced by an important industrialising process and large migration to the industrial centres.

The main part of the thesis is centred on teachers themselves and how they responded to the objective conditions analysed in the first part. Teachers found themselves immersed in a changing society and in an antiquated institution incapable of adapting to the changes. Even the so called reform proposed by the Regime was an attempt at apparent reform without change. Those teachers who developed politically and became active anti Regime militants, offered and aspired to a quite different educational solution expressed in the democratic 'Alternative. The development of a broad teachers' movement, of pedagogic groups and of a parents' movement, within the area of preschool, primary and secondary schooling is the main subject of this thesis. This study shows the difficulties of their activities under severely repressive conditions, and how their methods of struggle, the influence of its nature had on its content and the fact that their very opposition to the Regime represented a political advance in anti fascist resistance gave place to the development of a democratic 'Alternative' shared by all progressive teachers of the epoch.

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