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‘Goodbye, Spain?’

The Question of Independence for Catalonia

Kathryn Crameri is Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Glasgow. Her published work covers Catalan culture, identity and nationalism, and includes Catalonia: National Identity and Cultural Policy 1980–2003 (University of Wales Press, 2008). Goodbye, Spain? brings this experience to bear on the crucial issue of the recent and unexpected rise in support for Catalan independence.

Support for independence in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia has risen significantly since 2005. Opinion polls confirm that the idea of holding a legally-binding referendum on independence is now supported by 80% of Catalans. Many commentators on nationalism in Western Europe had come to the conclusion that there was no serious threat to the established nation-states from secessionism within their borders. In The Identity of Nations (2007), Montserrat Guibernau wrote that decentralisation ‘tames secessionism, both by offering significant power and resources to the national minorities it seeks to accommodate and by enticing regional political elites with the power, prestige and perks associated with devolution’. Scott Greer, in Nationalism and Self-Government (2007), wrote that ‘secession seems unlikely’ in the Catalan case because the regional political elites have too much to lose by such a move and are most concerned with winning further autonomy in specific areas that stabilise their own hold on regional power – a conclusion called into question by the recent radicalisation in Catalan politics and civil society.

Causes for these striking changes in public sentiment include changes in the Catalan political landscape since 2003, problems of infrastructure, public apathy with the political process, disillusionment with the Spanish government, a rise in anti-Catalan feeling from other Spaniards (and a rise in anti-‘Spanish’ feeling among Catalans), the effects of the global financial crisis, and the bumpy ride experienced by Catalonia’s new Statute of Autonomy. One notable change has been a shift in the dominant discourse of Catalan nationalism from concerns regarding language, culture and identity toward the political and economic welfare of Catalans. These political and economic discourses have overlaid rather than replaced cultural aspects.

Published in association with the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-659-2
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $64.95
Release Date: June 2014
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-707-0
Paperback Price: £22.50 / $34.95
Release Date: January 2015
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Rationality, Ethnicity, Instrumentalism Emotion, Affect, Anxiety

Chapter 1 Political Parties and Civil Pro-Independence Groups
Political Parties since 1980
Political Disillusionment and the Rise of Civil Movements

Chapter 2 Key Events, 2005–2013
The Tripartite and the New Statute of Autonomy
Finance, Infrastructure and the Challenge to the Statute
The Fiscal Pact and the Popular Consultations on Independence
The Road to Referendum?

Chapter 3 Political Discourse: The Triumph of Rationality?
From Identity to the Economy?
The Disappointment of Autonomy and the Impossibility of Federalism
The Right to Decide
The Emotive Properties of Rational Argument
Beyond Politics

Chapter 4 Past/Present Heroes and the Future Catalan State
L’onze de setembre and its Historical Heroes Fictionalised Heroes: Ermengol Amill and Martí Zuviría
The Strange Case of Èric Bertran

Chapter 5 Stimulating Affect: Catalan Television and the Independence Debate
Documentary or Propaganda?
Adéu, Espanya?, El Laberint and Hola, Europa!
Polònia: Harmless Infotainment or Pro-Independence Misinformation?

Chapter 6 Imagining Independence Emotion versus Reason
Crònica de la independència

Reduction and Risk Evaluation: Ethnicity and its Alternatives
Emotion, Loyalty and Identification

List of Abbreviations

Reviewed by Redaktion sehepunkte, at:

Reviewed in Political Studies Review (May 2016)

This book spotlights a recent, complex and ever-evolving phenomenon: the current rise in support for independence in Catalonia from 2005 to 2013. Crameri cites the lack of interest on the part of Spain to understand the Catalan people, their language, culture, or their desire to contribute to Spain’s ongoing political and economic modernization, all of which has led to the current situation. Six chapters and conclusion are: political parties and civil pro-independence groups; the path to a pro-independence consensus; political discourse; past/present heroes and the future Catalan state; stimulating affect; the future; conclusion.

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