, Volume 95, Issue 4, pp 565–577 | Cite as

The Anthropological Effect: Cultural Hierarchies and Nationalization in Pérez Galdós’ Doña Perfecta and Pereda’s De Tal Palo, Tal Astilla

  • Sarah Sierra


In nineteenth-century Spain, Anthropology arose as a means to study the social and cultural aspects of humankind in an empirical manner. However, the anthropological evaluation of distinct internal national cultures opened a dangerous path for politically motivated ideologies to establish a cultural hierarchy in which particular communities were considered less-developed. The urban liberals justified the intervention by the centralized government in the rural peripheral cultures in order to usurp control over these perceived underdeveloped areas. In both Benito Pérez Galdós’ Doña Perfecta and José María de Pereda’s De Tal Palo, Tal Astilla, the effects of Anthropology on the urban–rural dynamics are played out as the liberal, urban protagonists engage the rural communities in a manner that simulates a colonial encounter; the dominant culture dismisses the extant beliefs and customs, thus allowing for political and economic usurpation of the perceived underdeveloped community. In each novel, the rural inhabitants react violently to the liberal protagonists’ encroachment indicating a growing awareness of the failure of the liberal faction’s nationalization agenda.


Anthropology Internal colonialism Ethnicity Nationalization Doña Perfecta De tal palo, Tal astilla 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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