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Writing the Cosmopolis: The Conceptualization of Community in Lucía Etxebarria’s Cosmofobia


The present work examines how Lucía Etxebarria, in her 2007 novel Cosmofobia, presents a more optimistic view on the multiculturalism of Madrid’s Lavapiés community than the one held by its (fictional) residents. The novel in its printed form becomes a representation of the apartment complex and its denizens as Etxebarria describes an intercultural space that recasts the characters’ cosmofobia into a vibrant, evolving community. The works of Henri Lefebvre, Edward Soja, and David Harvey provide the theoretical framework that structures my analysis, especially Soja’s concept of Thirdspace (1996). I propose that as Cosmofobia creates a macro-view of the social space of Lavapiés, the novel realizes Soja’s Thirdspace as an interactive and intercultural space. This analysis also draws on recent works in the fields of urban, race and cosmopolitan/multicultural studies that contribute to a better understanding of the treatment of the cosmopolitan city within contemporary novels. With her text Cosmofobia, Etxebarria re-presents Lavapiés, seeking to come to terms with a new definition of community – a new identity of what it could mean to be “Spanish” in an increasingly heterogeneous society.

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