Culture and Society in Spain

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Culture and Society in Spain

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description

    Which social, political, cultural and both national and international phenomena define Spain as it enters the 3rd decade of the 21st century? To answer this question, this course aims to present Spanish social and cultural heterogeneity, analyzing the main aspects that vertebrate present-day Spain (for example, its religious/religiosity background, the variety of festivities, the new family types, migratory movements in search of the European dream, the educational and health systems, gender issues, new political trends, politics of historic memory or the change of the energy model in the face of climatic disruption). Thus, this course will also have a closer look at the realities of the different autonomous communities with all their peculiarities and specificities.

    Course Goals and Methodology

    The main goal of this course is to increase the students’ knowledge and appreciation of Spanish culture and its people. Accordingly, Spain's richness and diversity will be explored through the critical analysis of the most relevant socio-cultural phenomena which constitute its present identity. Through said comprehensive overview of defining themes and topics, students should be able to make the most of their immersion experience. The methodology of the course will be based on an eclectic and complementary academic and experiential approach to culture teaching by virtue of which theory and practice feed one another bidirectionally. In other words, class work will both anticipate and help contextualize out of class experiences in as much as out of class experiences will also serve to confirm and/or question scholarly discussions previously held in the classroom. Open discussions of present-day topics (politics, race, gender issues, cultural differences, etc.) is widely encouraged in this type of class.

    Learning Objectives

    • Through this course, students will:
    • Understand the latent and patent ideological substrates governing Spanish culture.
    • Analyze socialization practices, customs and rituals as they are experiencing them themselves.
    • Describe and evaluate candidly and critically the degree of depth, width and breadth of their immersion experience.
    • Demonstrate that culture differences can always be handled successfully.

    Course Contents

    Unit 1: Introduction: Understanding Spain.

    Unit 2: Dictatorship, transition to Democracy, monarchy, political parties, social agents. Cultural, linguistic and geographical diversity: autonomous communities. Health and education.

    Unit 3: Spanish Society and its evolution into the 21st century: demography and the economy. The ‘empty Spain’. Immigration and current challenges.

    Unit 4: Social changes: family types, civil unions, homosexual marriage.

    Unit 5: Faith and Religion: popular religiosity, main confessions. Catholicism in Spain: beliefs and popular rites.

    Unit 6: Festivities and cultural diversity. Fall, winter, spring and summer celebrations: Christmas, Carnival, ‘Fallas’, May Crosses, Pilgrimages, Easter, ‘San Juan’, Moors and Christians.

    Unit 7: Bullfighting: its components and rituals. Meaning and controversies. The running of the bulls: ‘San Fermín’ in Pamplona and similar celebrations.

    Unit 8: Flamenco: origins, features and evolution. Main singers, guitarists and dancers.

    Unit 9: Eating habits in Spain: cultural diversity once again. Socializing in Spain. ‘Tapas’, wine, beer and their social component. Sports: practice, ‘soccer’ addiction and important achievements. Are Spaniards health conscious?

    Unit 10: Spain, Europe and its main challenges for the 21st century. Stereotyping and Cultural Shock. Final conclusions.


Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.

Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.