Marinaleda: A Case Study for Micro-Regional Identity

A recent NPR article discussed a small town in Spain that is living in their own united bubble while the rest of the country lives under a different set of rules and regulations. Marinaleda is a small town in the south of Spain with a population of 2,700 residents. The article highlights its Mayor, Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, and his efforts to decrease unemployment, fight capitalism, and the economic crisis affecting the region. Some of these efforts include, preventing multinational corporations from opening stores in the town, having residents take ownership in street cleaning procedures, and providing land and building materials for any resident who wants to build a house.

The article also discusses legal trouble for the mayor because he went into supermarkets and stole food to give to less fortunate residents. It goes on to discuss how the rest of the region has a higher unemployment rate, a higher level of general wealth inequality, and charges agricultural subsidies to other towns. These differences between the town and the rest of the region display two of Pries’ (2013) identities. The town of Marinaleda displays a micro-regional identity even though regions in and near Spain a structured in a macro-regional identity. As stated by Pries (2013), the micro-regional identity claims that some organizations display a shift to governmental structures autonomous from the State or regional government organizations.  

The article also states that Mayor Sanchez Gordillo is facing possible jail time for stealing food from a big chain supermarket. This shows that the big food chain and the other leaders in the region might be putting pressure on the mayor to conform to the rules and regulations of the region. As stated by Kim (2008), the pressure is a stress that will force the mayor and residents to adapt to capitalism. This means that the town will lose its identity that has made it an ideal location for its residents. With that in mind, we are left to wonder if deculturation and acculturation are beneficial for the town and its residents.

Bibliography

Kim, Y. Y. (2008). Intercultural personhood: Globalization and a way of being. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 359-368.

Pries, L. (2013). Ambiguities of global and transnational collective identities. Global Networks, 13(1), 22-40.

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