Global State-Building and the Transformation of Nationalism: Spain in the European Union, 1977-2002
AdvisorSchwartzman, Kathleen C.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoEmbargo: Release after 5/18/2011
AbstractThe emergence of supranational organizations like the European Union (EU) raises questions fundamental to the sociological study of regions and nation-states. Hypothetically, the EU could provide regions within nation-states most of the governmental services that they currently receive from the state. For regions with strong ethnic and cultural identities that have sought to break away from the nation-state over time, decreased political and economic dependency may provide the autonomy that they have been seeking. On the other hand, if the emergence of supranational organizations like the EU represents state-building at the global level, then the EU can pose a threat to regional groups seeking autonomy from the nation-state. At issue is how the growing influence of supranational organizations like the EU is affecting the demand for autonomy within ethnically, politically, and culturally distinct regions. This dissertation attempts to answer these questions by examining variations in nationalism over time for three regions in Spain (Basque Country, Galicia, Catalonia) from 1977-2002. In order to begin to answer this question, I created a new dataset of protest events in Spain in order to assess variations in demands for autonomy over time. The protest event counts were incorporated into a comparative historical analysis that seeks to explain the effects of the influence of the evolving European Union (EU) on contentious demands for autonomy within those three regions; the variations in the protest event counts over time were analyzed against additional economic and political data collected from archival materials. I find that, while nationalism declined overall over time, it did not disappear but rather took on a different character. The classical manifestations of nationalism transformed into distinct movements centered on human rights. I argue that this transformation took place as a result of three interrelated factors: 1) Forced cooperation between the regions and the central Spanish government; 2) Elite abandonment of the nationalist movement; and 3) The state of the regional economies. In contrast to what extant theory might predict, my results indicate that nationalism continues to exist for the following reasons: 1) The EU has not rendered the nation-state irrelevant, but rather has altered their competencies; 2) The EU has not resolved the tensions between the nation-state and regions, but rather has created new ones; and 3) The EU has not leveled the economic playing-field between regions, but rather has opened them up to new forms of competition. In conclusion, this dissertation argues that supranational organizations like the EU have altered the relationship between regions and nation-states, thus transforming - but not solving - the nationalist question.
Degree ProgramGraduate College