Identity and politics in Catalonia: The rise of independentism in contemporary Catalonian nationalism

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© QUADERNS-E DE L'ICA. This article raises the question of the role of identity in the rise of the Catalan independence movement over the past decade. It is argued that the increase in secessionist sentiment cannot be explained simply as a reaction to the global economic crisis, and that Catalan national identity has historic roots that have shaped how the political and economic events of the past decade have been interpreted in Catalonia. Support for independence can be explained in large part by the ability of hegemonic nationalist discourse to change its traditional narrative (centered mainly on demands for greater recognition of Catalan identity, language and culture) in order to focus instead on shared citizenship and democratic participation to create political unity. In this way, the pro-sovereignty discourse of the "right to decide" merges with the demand by new social movements for democratic renewal and social change, becoming a specifically Catalan way of seeking new forms of citizen participation. The demand for the creation of a new Catalan state thus becomes not only an aim in itself but also an instrument for achieving a new and better model of society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-99
JournalQuaderns de l'Institut Catala d'Antropologia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Catalonia
  • Citizen participation
  • Identity
  • Independence movement
  • Nationalism


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