Nationalism, pluralism and minorities in Spain: the case of Catalonia

AutorCarlos R Fernández Liesa
C R F L
Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain
Sovereignty in Spain resides in the Spanish nation, the foundation
of Spanish constitutionalism since the first Constitution of 1812
(AlzagaVilaamil, 2011, 140 ss.). But Spain itself is by far older.
Furthermore, it is not just a State, a legal structure, but a nation as well.
Such a statement is not an expression of Spanish nationalism. Refuting
the idea of Spain as a nation is at the very heart of the problem of
‘soberanismo’, meaning the pursuit of sovereignty. Nationalism, ever
since its founding fathers fi rst denied Spain the consideration of nation1,
has been a denialist stance.
Catalonia’s so-called di cult fi t into Spain stems from not accepting
that Spain is a plural nation – a nation of nations if you would –ś from
not accepting the pluralism of Spain. This rejection is found in extremist
forms of nationalism on both ends of the spectrum, in other words
so-called peripheral nationalisms and radicalised Spanish nationalism
alike. Spain is a nation in an identity sense, and so a plurinational Spain,
understood as a group of nations, cannot be acknowledged because Spain
exists as a single nation, even if it is pluricultural one.
In line with Alvarez Junco and Peces-Barba (Álvarez Junco, 2005,
Peces-Barba, 2014)2, Spain could be considered a nation of nations,
provided we accept that there is a sovereign nation, the Spanish nation,
which also includes the others. It is a formula that admits pluralism and
dual identities – far removed from exclusionist and exclusive identities
1 In relation to the idea of Spain, see (Álvarez junco, 2017)ś See also Morales, A.,
Fusi J.P., De Blas, 2013ś Furio, 217ś Orduñoa Rebollo 2011ś Perez Vejo, 2015).
2 Journal of Congress Sessions no. 64, intervention on 11 May 1978, p. 2170. Regarding
the origins of the notion, see also (Julia, 2017).

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