Comparative European Politics

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 993–1011 | Cite as

‘Spain steals from us!’ The ‘populist drift’ of Catalan regionalism

  • Astrid BarrioEmail author
  • Oscar Barberà
  • Juan Rodríguez-Teruel
Original Article


This article analyses to what extent traditional mainstream Catalan regionalist parties and groups have adapted their discourses and collective performances in what might be seen as a ‘populist drift’ from regionalism to secessionism. This strategic move has been favoured by increasing party competition among these actors and would respond to the grievances reinforced by a context of austerity policies, political corruption, and a long institutional conflict on the centre–periphery. Our contribution is twofold. First, we show how parties and movements may combine regionalist and populist arguments in order to adapt their language, stressing the will of the Catalan people and its opposition against the Spanish political elites. Second, we explore how secessionist parties and groups have innovated their mobilization repertoires in order to fit with this populist-oriented discourse, employing mass mobilization, referenda simulations, and a populist political style in the institutions. Overall, Catalan secessionism presents a peculiar case where mainstream ruling parties adopt populist rhetoric and new mobilization practices to maintain power in adverse times.


Populism Political parties Interest groups Mobilization Rhetoric Catalonia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Barrio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Oscar Barberà
    • 1
  • Juan Rodríguez-Teruel
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Derecho Constitucional y Ciencia Política y de la Adm.Universitat de ValènciaValenciaSpain

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