Translating the Crisis

Politics and Culture in Spain after the 15M

by Fruela Fernández

Copyright Year 2021

Translating the Crisis discusses the multiple translation practices that shaped the 15M movement, also known as the indignados (‘outraged’), a series of mass demonstrations and occupations of squares that took place across Spain in 2011 and which played a central role in the recent global wave of popular protest. Through a study of the movement’s cultural and intellectual impact, as well as some of its main political evolutions (namely Podemos and Barcelona en Comú), Fernández shows how translation has contributed to the dissemination of ideas and the expansion of political debates, produced new intellectual and political figures, and provided support to political projects.

Drawing on fieldwork, interviews, and a large repertoire of sources in various languages, this monograph provides an in-depth study of the role of translation in the renewal of activist language, the development of political platforms,  and the creation of new social references, while also presenting a critical perspective on its limitations and shortcomings. Combining first-hand experience of the Spanish reality with a keen transnational awareness, Fernández offers a nuanced, present-day perspective on the political events taking place in Spain and connects them with wider transformations across the world.

This book is invaluable for scholars and researchers in Translation Studies, Spanish Studies, Social Movement Studies, and Politics.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction: translating the crisis

1 The many voices of opposition: activism and translation in a global context

2 Translation-as-tradition: the 15M between past and present

3 The ‘commons’: rethinking collective agency

4 Towards the ‘care’ strike: translation and the rise of the feminist movement

5 Sea, sun, and dissent: activist critiques of the ‘Spanish model’

6 Podemos: successes and contradictions of a ‘translational’ party

7 Conclusion: the ongoing task of translation





Fruela Fernández is Assistant Professor in English Studies at Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain). He is the author of Espacios de dominación, espacios de resistencia (2014) and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics (2018, with Jonathan Evans).


In his timely book, Fruela Fernández uncovers how Spanish citizens in the Spanish 15M movement and its aftermath used translation’s conceptual and political potential in order to question official narratives of the global ‘crisis’. Fernández delivers a compelling empirical contribution to translation and social movement studies—a must read for researchers and activists alike.


Nicole Doerr, University of Copenhagen, Denmark