Narratives of the Process: Parliamentary debates about Catalonia's referendum of 2017

Núria Franco-Guillén*, Gema Rubio-Carbonero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


On 1 October 2017, Catalonia held an independence referendum. The Spanish state had previously declared this referendum illegal and activated political and security devices to prevent it from being held. The referendum was the tipping point of the so-called Catalan ‘Process’, which would continue with the suspension of Catalonia's self-government and the imprisonment of several Catalan politicians and activists. Heated political discussion has centred current Spanish (and sometimes even European) politics on issues related to the legitimacy of both the Process and the actors involved in it. This paper aims to understand how the different Catalan political parties framed the Process by looking at the parliamentary discourses which prevailed in the Catalan Parliament one month before and one month after the holding of the referendum. The data are analysed using a mixed-methods approach. We combine topic models (used to generate different frames associated with different political leanings inductively) with an in-depth examination of the contents of these frames. The results shed light on how the Catalan Process is framed according to different political leanings and contribute to our understanding of stateless and state-wide nationalism strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2022


  • framing
  • majority nationalism
  • parliamentary discourse
  • political parties
  • secession
  • stateless nationalism


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