Female migration and multiculturalism in Extranjeras (Helena Taberna, 2003)

Clara Guillén Marín

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1 Citation (SciVal)


Extranjeras–a 75-minute documentary made in 2002 by Spanish film director Helena Taberna–offers a collection of interviews in which foreign women living in Madrid talk to the camera about their experiences of immigration and adaptation to their new life in a new country. Taberna focuses on domesticity and cultural traditions but avoids other socio-political realities of female immigration in Spain, including prostitution and sexual exploitation. Instead, I argue, the film takes the viewer on a reassuring journey of multicultural discovery that seems at times more like a pleasurable tourist excursion than a documentary geared to presenting the difficulties and political issues that female migrants from non-Western European countries face in Spain. As Fredric Jameson indicates, we should try to understand the dominant cultural logic against which genuine difference can be assessed, and to project “some conception of a new systematic cultural norm and its reproduction in order to reflect more adequately on the most effective forms of any radical cultural politics today” (6). Taberna’s documentary, I suggest, represents a certain idea of multiculturalism that promotes a depoliticization of difference, thus diverting attention from forms of oppression suffered by migrants in Spain. I will explore to what extent Taberna reinforces the consensual view that places Western women in a superior position to non-Western women, considering herself responsible for their well-being and liberation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-56
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Spanish Cultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • Dissensus
  • documentary
  • migration
  • multiculturalism
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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