Prospects for an Independent Catalonia

  • Montserrat GuibernauEmail author


The aim of this paper is to examine the factors that have triggered the recent shift from devolution to secession expressed by the Catalan grassroots movement which has been consolidated in the last 5 years or so. This movement stands in favour of the so-called ‘right to decide’ which specifically demands the right of Catalan citizens to be considered as a ‘demos’ able to decide upon its political future by means of holding a referendum on the issue. Conflict has emerged as a result of the Spanish state’s prohibition to allow for a referendum on that issue. The paper offers an overview of the origins of modern Catalan nationalism by tracing back its roots to Franco’s dictatorship and the subsequent transition to democracy. It analyses the main arguments behind the qualitative shift from devolution to secession embodied in the rise of a novel bottom up secessionist movement supporting the idea of holding a referendum on Catalan independence from Spain; so far, strictly forbidden by the Spanish State. The paper considers the impediments to a ‘referendum’ on Catalan independence founded upon the Spanish Constitution. To conclude, it examines the rise of a novel grassroots civil society movement demanding the right of Catalonia to decide upon its political future.


Nationalism Secessionism Catalan secessionism Referendum Right to decide Emancipatory nationalism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International RelationsQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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