Nationalism in Catalonia

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Politics

Document 1

Many feel that with this kind of wealth, Catalonia is entitled to the political right of self-determination. The terms nation and nationalism are often misused, used inconsistently or used loosely by many authors. A nation is defined as a collective unified by common cultural features and values who hold a belief in territorial self-determination (""Nation" and "Nationalism": The Misuse of Key Concepts in Political Science," 1997, p. It is this desire for territorial control that distinguishes a nation from other collectives. Nationalism on the other hand is described as the endeavor either through argument or any other means for the attainment of some set of rights by members of a nation including territorial autonomy and sovereignty. The post-Francoist Catalonia has embraced consensus with the different political groups putting their state first and partisan differences second.

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The elite normally use images of the past to influence political outcomes. How the past is perceived can be used to serve the cause of the vanquished. Myths of the past regarding national cultures can have a major bearing on ethno national identities and how the ethno national communities relate with the state ("MOBILIZING THE PAST: NATIONALIST IMAGES OF HISTORY," 2004, p. Catalonia has molded prominent cultural figures such as painter Joan Miro and opera singer Montserrat Caballe while the phenomenal Barcelona football club is only rivalled by Real Madrid in top flight football. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1998, p. The development and consolidation of the Catalan national identity took place towards the end of nineteenth century and was facilitated by the following conditions; ("Foundations of National Identity: From Catalonia to Europe by Josep R.

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Llobera," 2007, p.  357) (i). (iii). A relatively inefficient Spanish State. Even though the centralizing tendencies adopted by the Spanish state towards the end of the nineteenth century mirrored the others elsewhere in Europe, it is important note two caveats. The Spanish state did not have adequate financial and administrative machinery for the enforcement of a national cultural homogenization unlike the French. Furthermore, once Catalan nationalism gained momentum as a political force, it presented a major hindrance to homogenization. Even though there have always existed many political parties and social organizations favoring secession since democracy was restored in Spain in 1978, not many people supported independence until 2010 according to opinion surveys ("Catalonia: A New Independent State in Europe?," 2016, p. The number of representatives elected under pro-independence platforms to the Catalan Parliament in 2015 was 72, an absolute majority and a sharp increase form 14 in 2010 ("Catalonia nationalists win elections," 2015).

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Three particular episodes help illustrate the dramatic transformations that have taken place in the Catalan political landscape from 2010 up to now. In June 2010 following four years of legal deliberations, the Spanish Constitutional Court made its judgment regarding the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (Morales, 2013, p. The Court declared some vital parts of the statute as unconstitutional while offering very centralist interpretation on the issues brought before it. Earlier on 1st October, the separatists had organized a self-determination referendum in defiance a government’s directive banning the plebiscite. The vote was marred by violence. Madrid responded by sacking Catalan President Puigdemont, dismissing his entire cabinet and dissolving the regional parliament. A snap election was called. The Spanish Ministry of Interior took over the Catalan local police.

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