When the context matters: Identity, secession and the spatial dimension in Catalonia

Toni Rodon, Marc Guinjoan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Regional and national identities are significant determinants of people's support for secession. Most previous works, however, have implicitly assumed that national identity has a linear unconditional effect. We complement previous works by showing that the relationship between identity and support for secession changes as a function of the context in which an individual interacts, an effect particularly important among those with mixed national and regional identities. The first stage of our empirical analysis is based on a pool of 22,000 individuals in the context of Catalonia (Spain). Findings confirm that dual-identity individuals are especially affected by their immediate surroundings: the probability to vote in favour of independence among them substantially increases when the percentage of people speaking Catalan increases. On a second stage, we explore the existence of a social interaction mechanism by employing a survey that measures the preferences of people's close networks. We show that individual's interaction in like-minded networks modifies the relationship between identity and secession, with the effect being again strong among dual-identity individuals. This group is six times more likely to vote for secession when having only pro-secession close contacts, as compared to having none. These results have implications for studies on regionalism and preferences for territorial decentralization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-87
JournalPolitical Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Context
  • Geography
  • Identity
  • Independence
  • Personal networks
  • Social relations


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