In recent years the ‘national’ coalition between center-right and center-left nationalist parties in Catalonia, with the support of the autonomist party CUP, has pushed the independentist agenda forward together with the civil society organization Asamblea Nacional Catalana and an increasing number of citizens who became visible during the most recent celebrations of the Diada, the National Catalan Day. Arguing for the impossibility of reaching an agreement regarding the question of independence, the Catalan government called for a referendum which was suspended by the Spanish Supreme Court. The Spanish government reacted to the will of carrying out the referendum by sending police forces in to avoid it. This provoked scenes of repression and violence which were reflected by national and international media and seriously damaged the image of the Spanish government.
The day of the referendum worked as an ‘event’ (or ‘political moment’), which reshaped the political and social situation regarding the relationship between Catalonia and Spain: the social basis supporting the Catalan independence expanded and went beyond the ‘nationalist’ constituencies and related to defense of ‘democracy’; the uses of symbols, particularly flags (from the independentist to the European Union flag), entered into a phase of resignification where the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion generated new types of communities; and the latent but not so visible Spanish nationalism was strengthened and articulated the unity of Spain in opposition to the wish for independence.
We consider it to be very relevant to analyze what is happening in Catalonia (and Spain) in this moment of negotiations and vivid civil society organization which reflect some of the main problematics of contemporary society: separatism, nationalism, changing (liquid or floating) identities, reactions to globalization, Europeanism, etc. We would particularly like to focus on the following aspects:
- Shaping of (new) collective identities
- Redefinition of the nation and resignification of symbols
- The role of emotions in politics and in the constitution of identities
- Civil society movements and their positioning
Malayna Raftopoulos, Research Center on Development and International Relations (DIR), Aalborg University
Oscar Garcia Agustín, Research Center on Development and International Relations (DIR), Aalborg University
Project period: December 2017 to September 2018