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Constitutional preferences and identity in Catalonia: Politics as usual or new patterns?

Ivan Serrano
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Ivan Serrano
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Open Panel

Abstract

After 30 years of the ‘State of Autonomies’ the question of self-government is still a key issue to understand Catalan and Spanish politics. In 2005 the Catalan parliament sent a proposal for a new Statute of Autonomy to the Spanish congress, where the text was amended after a controversial period of negotiations and approved by referendum in Catalonia in June 2006. Some aspects were later challenged before the Constitutional Court and in 2010 several articles of the text were overruled under a strict interpretation of the Spanish Constitution. On the other hand, during this period independence has gained visibility in the political debate, not only at the parliamentary and partisan level but also because of a growing social mobilization. The evolution of the Catalan question in the last years invites to revisit some classical assumptions such those that expected that the consolidation of the autonomist model of 1978 would foster dual identities and the preference for self-government arrangements instead of secession, and therefore a smooth accommodation of Catalonia within Spain. One of the effects of the expectations about devolution bringing a stable accommodation of Catalonia within Spain is the fact that constitutional preferences and particularly social support to independence have received little attention compared to other dimensions of nationalism, and this paper aims to provide some evidence in this area based on survey data combining support to independence in a four-grade scale of self-government and in the form of a two-option referendum.