Hegemony, Coercion, and their Teeth-Gritting Harmony: A Commentary on Power, Culture, and Sexuality in Franco’s Spain

Professor Gema Pérez-Sánchez’s article, Franco’s Spain, Queer Nation? focuses on the last years of Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship and the early years of the young Spanish democracy, roughly from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s. The centerpiece of her article looks at how, through law, Franco’s regime sought to define and contain what it considered dangerous social behavior, particularly homosexuality. She traces how the state not only exercised hegemonic control over definitions of gender and sexuality, but also established well-defined roles for women and drew clear lines between what constituted legitimate and illegitimate sexualities, namely, the line between heterosexuality and homosexuality. She discusses how non-hegemonic sexual minorities subverted this line of control, especially during the 1970’s, when they mobilized and resisted the law against socially dangerous behavior. The period that followed this resistance witnessed the gradual transition to democracy in Spain and a heyday of gay cultural and literary activism. Professor Pérez-Sánchez’s bold and innovative legal scholarship, exploring the relationships between law, literature, and politics, is a good representation of the critical project in legal scholarship that aims to uncover the role of law in the intersections of power and resistance.