‘Madridcentrism’: This is how Madrid residents see the other Spanish regions

by admin

As London residents can be condescending about ‘everything above the Watford gap’, every country has areas whose inhabitants, for whatever reason, feel more important than their fellow citizens from other areas. Territorial conflicts have also always been a recurring theme in the much larger Spain. Sometimes as a joke, but sometimes also as a sensitive issue.

The latter especially in political conflicts in Catalonia and the Basque Country and their nationalist or independence movements. The derogatory attitude of some Madrilenians towards the rest of Spain is called ‘Madridcentrism’. This term reflects the criticism of the central and dominant character of Madrid, in politics, economics and in the media. This term emphasises the reproaches of the rest of Spain towards Madrilenians for their central position in the country, both literally and figuratively.

Humorous map of Spain

Recently, a tweet from the account No Soy La Gente on the social medium X put this issue back on the map. The tweet, in honour of the Day of San Isidro (on May 15) – the patron saint of Madrid – shows a map joking about how Madrilenians view Spain’s various autonomous communities. Each region is given a name that reflects a stereotype, using metonymy. This literary form of figure of speech is used to refer to something by the name of something else to which it is related. In the case of the card, this is done in a simplistic and humorous way.

Stereotypes of Madrilenians and criticism

On the map, the names associated with each autonomous community reflect a stereotype or characteristic that the creator believes reflects how Madrid residents view the region. Examples of this are:

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  • Galicia: Marisquería de Madrid (Madrid fish restaurant)
  • Asturias: sidrería de Madrid (Cider House of Madrid)
  • Cantabria: Lechería de Madrid (Madrid Dairy)
  • Basque Country: Comisaría (police station)
  • Navarre: Madrid Zona Universitaria (Madrid University Zone)
  • Aragon: Pantano de Madrid (Madrid Reservoir)
  • Catalonia: Hacienda de Madrid (Madrid tax office)
  • Castilla y León: Madrid Viejo (old Madrid)
  • Castilla-La Mancha: Nuevo Madrid (New Madrid)
  • Extremadura: Charcutería de Madrid (Madrid Butchery)
  • Andalucía: Patio de recreo de Madrid (Madrid’s playground)
  • Baleares: Islas madrileñas alquiladas a Alemania (Madrilean Islands leased to Germany)
  • Canarias: Islas madrileñas (Madrileñas)
  • Valencia and Murcia: Playa de Madrid (Madrid Beach)

Outrage in Murcia

The map has especially caused outrage in Murcia. Madrilenians refer to the Valencia region together with Murcia as ‘Madrid beach’. This name reflects the perception that Madrilenians only see these regions as holiday destinations. As a result, other aspects of their cultural identity and economic value are undervalued. Murcians are critical of the reduction of their region to a summer destination for people from the region around the Spanish capital.

Mixed reactions on social media

The tweet has evoked a variety of reactions, ranging from people who can laugh about it and recognise the stereotypes to criticism of the perpetuation of clichés and the simplification of the rich diversity of the Spanish autonomous communities. Some also complain about the fixation on Madrid itself. Many people point out the need for a more balanced representation of all regions in Spain and do not see the point of the offensive stereotypes. The aggrieved often feel their regions are reduced to merely their tourist or economic functions, without recognition of their rich cultural history and diversity. For an impression of the underlying tensions and imbalances, it is interesting to read the comments under the image above.

Also read: According to this map, the English of many Spaniards is abominably bad 

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