Modernization and Democratization: Reflections on Spain’s Transition to Democracy

January 1, 1983

In "Modernization and Democratization: Reflections on Spain’s Transition to Democracy," José Casanova discusses the various conditions behind Spain’s change in government, rejecting simplified views of Marxists and other analysts. Casanova notes that theories from many other regions at the same time will not work, as Spain’s reform emerged “legally” within the Francoist administration, rather than from a popular or military uprising. Thus, changes in socioeconomic conditions did not necessarily force the political change. Instead, Casanova argues, the necessary change came from within the governmental administration. Technocrats, many from Opus Dei and without inherent loyalty to Franco, joined the government and laid the groundwork for more liberalization. Many of Franco’s younger supporters came to accept those views, and called for such reforms to be made, undermining Francoism. In addition, the Catholic Church, one of the key pillars of the Franco regime, came to support the general liberalization of the state. This article was published in volume 50 of Social Research (Winter 1983).

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