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Editor: Andrew Canessa
ISBN: 9781845199050
Format: Hardback
Extent: 200 pages
Price: £60.00
Publication: October 2018
Publisher: Sussex Academic Press

Spanish and Gibraltarian Perspectives on Their Border

Brexit looms ever closer one of the many problem raised by the UK’s departure from the EU is the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar which shares a land border with Spain across which approximately 40 per cent of Gibraltar’s labour force cross daily. Real questions are being raised on the future of this border and how it will be managed but one can only understand its future based on a sound knowledge of its evolution.

Barrier and Bridge explores the recent history of the border drawing on documentary and oral history accounts on both sides. It offers a human as much as a political history and argues that whereas at the beginning of the twentieth century there was virtually no border and strong cultural, economic, linguistic, and ethnic ties that straddled it, by the end of the century the border denoted a much more profound sense of difference between the populations.

The book traces the complex developments over the twentieth century, looking at language change, marriage patterns, governance through the border, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War and the changing relationship between the UK and the residents of the Rock who, over this period, identified increasingly as British. Eschewing a linear historical narrative, Barrier and Bridge explores the twists and turns, ambivalences and ambiguities, that inhere around this contentious border and concludes that we cannot expect its future to be as predictable as many would assume.

Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies, LSE

Nearly a decade ago, Sussex Academic Press published a path-breaking study by Dr Gareth Stockey on the complex issue of the three-way relationship between Spain, the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.  Since the appearance of that splendid volume with its rich sense of place and people, a bombshell has been thrown into the delicate relationship between the three parties.  Accordingly, the present wide-ranging collection edited by Professor Andrew Canessa of the University of Essex could not be a more timely addition to the series.  As the subtle guest editor’s preface by Dr Stockey makes clear, the book casts its light well beyond the Spanish–Gibraltarian frontier and is an important contribution to the study of borders. Professor Paul Preston, London School of Economics