Pro-sovereignty Politics in Catalonia and the Basque Country

Are the Two Cases Comparable?

Authored by: Richard Gillespie

The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415722834
eBook ISBN: 9781315709895
Adobe ISBN:


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At a time when several stateless nations of Europe are making claims to sovereignty, Spain has become a key point of international reference, not least for the European Union. This is largely as a result of the rise of soberanismo (pro-sovereignty feeling and assertiveness) in Catalonia although there is also the emerging issue of how Basque politics will evolve following decades of political violence. While the rise of pro-sovereignty politics may be attributable partly to aspects of globalization including the repercussions of the international financial crisis of 2008, the different paths followed by nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country demonstrate the need for analysis to take full account of the endogenous features of each case. Among these, in what follows, particular attention is paid to different structures of political competition, contrasts in political and economic status between the Basque and Catalan autonomous communities and dissimilarity in the relationship between political elites and civil society.

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