Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Del anarquismo al librepensamiento: una propuesta de aproximación al proceso de apropiación del darwinismo en la Cataluña de fines del XIX

Álvaro Girón Sierra


From Anarchism to Free-Thought: an approach to the process of appropriation of Darwinism
in the late nineteenth Catalonia

In recent decades, contemporary historiography has made it clear that the
representation of late Nineteenth Century Darwinism as a sort of application of Darwins
theory of natural selection to different domains was both naïve and simplistic.
Rather than being a fixed entity, Darwinism is better understood as a historical artefact
whose meaning has been continuously renegotiated.

Ironically, those works devoted to the process of circulation/appropriation of Darwinism
within working-class organisations and the political left usually neglected the fact
that trade unions and political parties were far from being fixed, self-contained entities.
This was especially true in Catalonia, where Republicans, anarchists and socialists
shared a common ideological substratum inherited from liberal rationalism, joining
forces in an impressive array of activities in different working-class institutions. This article
is a formal proposal to go one step further. It is claimed that a proper understanding
of how Darwinism was appropriated by the Catalan working-class should take into
account religious dissent and the widespread influence of Freemasonry and Free-

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