Spectacle and Power: Sites and Spaces of Papal Visits in Spain

Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


Spain as an ideal Catholic nation, standing loyal to the pope, constitutes a conflictual identity construction of Spanish history. While some favorite this blend of Catholic and Spanish identity, others prefer a secular Spanish nation or a Catholic but regional belonging beyond the Spanish nation (Basque, Catalonian). The papacy has to navigate through these different expectations when entering the public spheres of the country. Papal journeys follow a cautious organization of visiting sites and spaces in order to present a spectacle that integrates people without alienating others. Papal power depends also on a success of this exercise. Based on a historical overview of the geneses of Spanish cleavages, the chapter analyzes how John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried to create a papal landscape during their visits. Pope Francis has not yet visited Spain.


Pope Spain Spanish history Papal visits Space Performance 

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Applied DidacticsUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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