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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.106

Distributive aggrievement, ambivalent moral community and the memory of migration in Catalonia


  • Dr. Mikel ARAMBURU

Primary authors


In liberal redistributive systems, separate categories of beneficiaries and taxpayers are usually created, and the deservingness of the former is questioned especially when it is perceived as an outsider to the ‘moral community’, to the people to whom one feels moral commitments and solidarity. This article addresses this issue from the perspective of interregional redistribution at the state level, which in the case of Catalonia has remained a popular perception that expands beyond the pro-independence movement. This article makes an ethnographical approximation of the sons and daughters of migrants from the south of Spain living in a working-class neighborhood of Barcelona. In spite of the logical plurality of visions, a recurrent story stands out in which the subsidized ""good life"" in their parents’ Southern communities of origin, offered in personal testimony, contrasts with (and to a large extent is explained by) the ""hard life"" in productive Barcelona. This popular narrative of distributive aggrievement (that fits into the local political ecosystem) has undermined class dialectics and politics within Catalonia while re-scaling the perception of distributive injustice to a primarily state level, largely as an interregional issue. However, this distributive malaise gains a special relevance when framed by the memory of parents’ migration (which is largely a memory of urbanization), since it plays a significant role in my interlocutors’ self-understanding. This private rather than public memory has ambivalent consequences because it highlights and, at the same time, denies the moral blaming of relatives and 'countrymen'.