Table Of Content
- Title Page
- Table of contents
- Catalonia: Identity, Representativity, Territorialisation, by Flocel Sabaté
- Poetry and Identity, by Marie-Claire Zimmermann
- Catalonia’s Influence in the World of the Late Middle Ages: The Role of the Overseas Consulates, by Antoni Riera i Melis
- Institutions and the Catalan Ruling Classes: The Long March to Culmination in the Early 18th Century, by Eva Serra i Puig
- Identities, Solidarities and Disagreements: Catalonia and the Crown of Aragon up to the Catalan Revolt of 1640, by Àngel Casals
- Catalonia in the Process of the Construction of the Modern Spanish State. A Deterministic Interpretation and Critique of Spanish National Historiography, by Antoni Simon i Tarrés
- The Writing of History and of Catalan Identity: From Jeroni Pujades (1568-1635) to Antoni de Capmany (1742-1813), by Xavier Baró i Queralt
- The Cultural “Renaissances” as a Moment in European History (1820-1870), by Nicolas Berjoan
- The Role of the Working-class in the Construction of Catalan Identity, by Teresa Abelló
- Catalan Intellectuals and the Inter-war Debate on Democracy in Europe, by Giovanni C. Cattini
- The Shaping of Catalan Identity in the Contemporary World, by Tom Harrington
- The Regional Rhetoric of the Catalan Francoists, by Carles Santacana
- A Shattered Mirror? The Ethics of Remembering Catalan Culture in Exile, by Helena Buffery
- Catalonia, Culture and Mass Media, by Carme Ferré Pavia
In 2015, the publisher of this book brought out two volumes under the direction of Flocel Sabaté. One volume looked at the Catalan and Portuguese visions of the Iberian Peninsula from their respective positions on the periphery,1 while the other examined Catalan identity from a historical perspective.2 The second volume also appeared that year in a Catalan version.3 Was this heady upsurge in analysis a product of the political moment? Such a reading might be defensible, but it would also be overly simplistic and mask a pair of highly salient realities that need emphasising.
First, in recent years, there has been an upswing of interest in the study of identities and their formation all over Europe. This is not the place to set out the state of the question,4 but the fact that Peter Lang has devoted an entire collection to the topic leaves no room for doubt that national identities are a historical subject drawing together many efforts from disciplines as various as history, sociology, anthropology, law and art.
Multifaceted realities bring an added exuberance to the research, though it is also true that circumstances can help to unleash a spate of titles on historical periods that are mixed with other less fruitful eras. In the case of Catalonia, its situation as a nation without a state yet one that maintains persistent demands for political recognition has aroused even greater interest because the subject transcends the specific Catalan case and circumstances, sparking enormous vitality among researchers.←7 | 8→
The second aspect to underscore is that this book is a convergence of diverse research projects and teams. Some focus on highly specific chronologies, while others are more general. This is the case with the Studies in Intellectual and Cultural History Group, a consolidated research group of the Generalitat of Catalonia focusing on contemporary history, which has participated in the project “Cuius Regio: An analysis of the cohesive and disruptive forces governing the attachment of groups of people to and their cohesion within regions as a historical phenomenon”, undertaken by the European Science Foundation. Their efforts are joined by members of the project in modern history called “Els conflictes socials com a resistència al poder en la perifèria de l’Estat Modern: Segles XVI-XVII”, which looks at social conflicts as a form of resistance to power on the periphery of the modern state in the 16th and 17th centuries, with financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
Thanks to the varied backgrounds of the authors and the nature itself of the formation of national identities, the studies in this book take a complex and sweeping view of history: Flocel Sabaté, Antoni Riera and Marie-Claire Zimmermann train their eye on three characteristic traits of the formation of medieval identities: law, literature and territory. Then, turning to the modern world, in which the formation of the state has always been a focus of major interest, Antoni Simon i Tarrés, Eva Serra, Àngel Casals and Xavier Baró analyse three fundamental questions: the correspondence between state and national construction, the experience of Catalan construction in the context of compound monarchies and the creation of modern historiographical discourse.
In the field of contemporary history, the wide-ranging complexity of the phenomena even further broadens the views on offer. The studies by Teresa Abelló and Nicolas Berjoan take us into the world of industry, the working class and its complex relationship with national construction, adopting an economic and social perspective that complements the cultural one and examining the outside representation of Catalan reality, the engagement of intellectuals and the weight of European romanticism in political culture and in the formation of Catalan nationalism. In their analysis of the 20th century, Giovanni Cattini, Carles Santacana, Carme Ferré, Helena Buffery and Thomas Harrington turn their atten←8 | 9→tions to the influence and reception of new European political cultures and the great debate on totalitarianism, while also looking at what Francoism has meant for the evolution of Catalan thought or what role has been played by mass media in the survival of a nation without a state. Furthermore there is a reflective view of Catalan culture in exile in the theatre, and as a result a general vision of the elements which make up the Catalan identity.
As a whole, this book reflects our staunch support for a broad-based, pluridisciplinary perspective that draws on the value of cooperation among diverse research groups in the ultimately impossible mission of reconstructing the complexity of nation-building over the course of history.
Finally we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Helena Buffery for her assistance in going over the entire manuscript. Also our gratitude goes to Universitat Catalana d’Estiu for organising the course which gave fruit to the idea of publishing this work.
This book is dedicated to the memory of Eva Serra and Francesc Valls Junyent, who collaborated in the initial phase of our project and have left us too soon.←9 | 10→
1 Flocel Sabaté and Luís Adão da Fonseca, Catalonia and Portugal: The Iberian Peninsula from the Periphery (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015).
2 Flocel Sabaté, Historical Analysis of the Catalan Identity (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015).
3 Flocel Sabaté, Anàlisi històrica de la identitat catalana (Barcelona: Institut d’Estudis Catalans, 2015).
4 For a summary with a useful and inevitably incomplete state of the question, see: Eric Taylor Woods, “Cultural Nationalism: A Review and Annotated Bibliography”, Studies on National Movements, 2 (2014), 1-26.
Catalonia: Identity, Representativity, Territorialisation
Universitat de Lleida
An understanding of the process by which a specific identity for Catalonia was created and justified remains heavily influenced by previous explanations in which the narrative has been formulated in a powerful, secular mould. It is without doubt necessary to deconstruct these historical assumptions and find new references, supported by their documentary corroboration and by their suitability under the renewed scientific historical method being employed currently.
1. Trapped in the historical narrative
During the 16th and 17th centuries the chief point of reference for the narrative of the Catalan social and political élites’ resistance to the Spanish monarchy consisted of the Catalan institutions of medieval origin. This tension became Iberia’s contribution to the pan-European struggle between so-called mixed government and the new absolutist model.1 The confrontation between narratives of justification that both precede and accompany the tensions of the 17th century2 is not unrelated to the evolution of the perception of belonging to national groupings although into a contemporary backdrop of ambiguity and fluidity.3 It is worth ←11 | 12→noting that even though at the beginning of the 17th century Antoni Vicenç Domènec defined Pere Rigau as de nación catalana y natural del Empurdán [of Catalan nationality, originally from Empordà],4 later in the same century Roig i Jalpí presents Count Wilfred the Hairy as de nación española [of Spanish nationality].5 The obliteration of the institutions of the old Crown of Aragon in the early 18th century was just one of many contemporary changes in the Spanish monarchy, such as the loss of European territories and dynastic change. All this contributed to the consolidation of a concept of the Spanish nation6 which went from strength to strength during the same century, thanks to the development of new institutions and the growth of a narrative which emphasised the cohesion of the Spanish nation.7
The 19th century began in this way,8 and, in various forms, the institutional structure of the old Crown of Aragon was to be put forward ←12 | 13→for three quarters of the century as a model for the governing of Spain. Capmany proposed this at the Courts of Cadiz,9 and the authors whom Ernest Lluch includes as pertaining to the liberal foralists10 followed the same line. These included Ramon López Soler’s proposal to revive the old Catalan legal framework, based on the conviction that Catalunya i la seva antiga llibertat poguessin servir de model als liberals per a construir el nou Estat nacional [Catalonia and its ancient liberties could serve the liberals as a model for the construction of a new national state].11 Thus, an idealised model based on the old Crown of Aragon allowed for a plural and participative vision of the different cultures and territories of Spain. At the halfway point of the 19th century Víctor Balaguer was the living embodiment of this strategy. His political efforts to achieve governmental recognition of the socio-economic interests of the Catalan entrepreneurial bourgeoisie12 marched in step with his vindication of a medieval Catalonia associated with popular and participative freedoms as a guide for the construction of a constitutional and federal model of Spain.13 In the second half of the century the federalist proposal emphasised the recognition of Catalan rights and Catalonia’s particular identity even more forcefully — citing, for example, its language, and looking to the Swiss Confederation explicitly as a model.14←13 | 14→
These proposals, however, fell on deaf ears after 1875 due to the Bourbon restoration which, with justification, was looked upon with reservation by Catalan cultural groups.15 Dating from this time, the mainstream debate on Spain16 became fixed on the continuity of Castilian history. The portrayal of Spanish identity is based upon the distinguishing features, including the psyche and landscape, of Castile.17 The Crown of Aragon is, as shown in Francisco Jorge Torres Villegas’ 1851 atlas, the Espanya assimilada o incorporada [the assimilated or incorporated Spain].18 The role of history as asignatura y molde de ciudadanía [subject and mould for citizens] on behalf of the state, is to transmit a mythologised, unified, conservative, Catholic and Castile-centric vision of the Spanish nation.19 In this context, the historiographical displacement of Víctor Balaguer by Antoni Bofarull, as highlighted by Josep Maria Fradera20 or, notably, Ramon Grau, goes further than romanticism merely being superseded by positivism.21 From now on, the history of Catalonia no longer influences Spain, but assumes a specific and introspective point of view. Sharing this new perspective, the Renaixença that prevails in the last quarter of the 19th century22 in Catalonia develops and spreads a view of the origins of Catalonia that is conservative, enamoured of folklore, ruralism, the church and tradition.23 Surprisingly, these pillars have survived right up to the present time.24←14 | 15→
¡Ya tenemos patria! [We already have a homeland!] proclaimed Antoni Bofarull about the feoffment of the county of Barcelona to Wilfred the Hairy in 878, one implied consequence of which was the birth of la nacionalitat catalana [Catalan nationality].25 This correspondence between the concession of the county of Barcelona to Wilfred the Hairy and the birth of an independent Catalan nation remains indelible in the historiography. A century later, Josep Maria Salrach dedicated two books to the study of the 8th and 9th centuries entitled El procés de formació nacional de Catalunya [The Process of the Formation of the Catalan Nation] and L’establiment de la dinastia nacional [The Establishment of a National Dynasty].26 In a school textbook dating from the Second Republic, the teacher Ramon Torroja contrasted between this primer comte independent [first independent count] and the independència consagrada [consecrated independence] which would achieve when, in 987, Borrell II did not pay homage to the new Capetian dynasty after lifting Almansur’s siege of Barcelona in 985 without French aid.27 This historiographical manoeuvre was necessary in order to respect this other reference that Pi i Arimon had highlighted in the mid-19th century, which permitted the dating of full independence from the time of Borrell II.28
In 1898 Bori i Fontestà revealed that Borrell’s action was taken in return for numerous concessions to the nobility, allowing the achievement of el régimen feudal su más decidido apogeo [the ultimate apogee of the feudal regime].29 Ramon Berenguer I would be able to regulate the inherent aggressiveness of the feudal nobility by employing the Usatges de Barcelona, then interpretated as a code law compiled in the mid-11th ←15 | 16→century.30 The plight of the peasants31 could not, however, be alleviated until the end of the Middle Ages.32 They would be subject to a dependence that caused many of them to envy the good fortune of their lords’ animals,33 a situation that would help to understand the social upheavals of the last years of the Middle Ages.34 A century later Pierre Bonnassie applied a Marxist hermeneutic, but his conclusions continued to place the consolidation of feudalism and the establishment of a system of remensa serfdom of the peasantry during the county of Ramon Berenguer I.35
The Church, according these explanations, would stand against the vices of feudalism, both in its role as the guardian of culture and by imposing a climate of peaceful order opposed to the excesses of the nobility. The power of institutions such as Pau i Treva [Peace and Truce] and the leading role of churchmen like the Bishop-Abbot Oliva were illustrious examples.36 In any case, a Christian faith locked in struggle with the Muslim invader would have indelibly permeated the roots of Catholicism in the land, just as the fundamentalist Fèlix Sardà i Salvany proclaimed.37 It is worth noting that the Hegelian paradigm established by Pierre Bonnassie, which was widely predominant at the end of the ←16 | 17→20th century, cast the Church in the role of a victim resisting the feudal revolution,38 in spite of the paradox that documentation such as that of Urgell provides evidence of its use and promotion of feudal forms. Moreover, the myth of Abbot Oliva has survived into the 21st century,39 though it is now being subjected to well-contextualised studies that will lead to a more accurate analysis.40
Finally, the counts and then the royal power as well as the Church would be bolstered by the support and guidance of an emergent medieval bourgeoisie, the same social group which also supplied the historians of the so-called Renaixença. Following this explanation, it would be established an alliance that would guarantee the country’s progress. In the words of Joan Segura: aixís la estrella dels barons s’anava eclipsant, mentres la dels Reys y dels municipis reyals crexia en esplendor [thus the barons’ star was steadily eclipsed, while that of the king and the royal municipalities grew in splendour].41 In the end, it is the urban society that has created the country: no s’ha arribat a la Nació més que passant per la Ciutat [it is through the city that we have become a nation].42 Fed by alternative historiographic views and his own life experiences,43 Jaume ←17 | 18→Vicens i Vives broadened the mythification of the Catalan oligarchy, which he envisioned as united in its concern for the good of the country.44
Beyond the long shadow cast by the Renaixença historiography over later contributions, a glimpse at the recent school and dissemination materials shows that, despite the intense contributions from the research, a firm foothold has been impregnated in the historical memory, reason why the origin of the country continues to be explained through explanations that, curiously, come from an ideological, conceptual and methodological context specific to the end of the 19th century.45
2. Trapped in the narrative of national identity
Fortunately, during the course of the 20th century many distinguished medievalists-historians posed themselves questions about the origin of the Catalan nation. Firstly, in Joseph Calmette’s view, a borderline or county delimitation does not necessarily pave the way to nationhood, no matter what rights or responsibilities they involve: le territoire n’est pas tout, ce n’est qu’un corps; un élément moral doit s’y ajouter, autant dire une âme [territory is not everything, it is just a body. A moral element must be added to it; in other words, a soul].46 This would clearly be seen in the 9th century in the discord between the native population and the dominant Carolingian power as evidenced in the adoptionist conflict and the Aissó revolt, well expressed in the words of Calmette, au jour tragique qui coûte la vie au dernier des comtes de race franque, Salomon [in the tragic day ←18 | 19→that claimed the life of the last French count, Salomon]. Based on this, Calmette deduced a psychologie collective [collective psychology], and interpreted the feudalisation of Wilfred the Hairy during the second half of the 9th century as a pacted solution which permitted the combination of Carolingian feudalism with the sense of national identity felt in the land: la montée du sentiment national dans la marche d’Espagne coïncident avec la poussée féodale [the rise of national feeling in the Spanish March coinciding with the feudal pressure].47
Even so, if, as in Pierre Bonnassie’s judgement, society changes suddenly — vingt ou trente ans (entre 1030/1040 et 1060) [in twenty or thirty years, between 1030/1040 and 1060]48 — and experiences a clear Hegelian sequence in the mid-11th century, in which the feudal thesis is overthrown by the antithesis of a feudal revolution culminating in a synthesised feudal state, it is this feudal state that would bring true cohesion to the country. Thus, Bonnassie continued giving the leading role to the House of Barcelona, but he placed it in the second half of the 11th century, drawing clearly Catalonia as the daughter of feudalisation.49
Nevertheless, as noted by Michel Zimmermann, there is no verifiable, politically cohesive function of the House of Barcelona until the 12th century, which is when there is also a perception of cultural convergence. Thus, c’est au milieu du XIIe siècle que se constitue vraiment la principauté catalane; la liturgie politique cristallise un sentiment national [it is in reality the middle of the 12th century that sees the Catalan principality constituted; that the political liturgy culminates in the crystallisation of national sentiment].50
Thomas N. Bisson points out, however, that although it can be stated that il n’y pas de doute que la ‘nation’ catalane a existé dès avant le XIIe siècle [there is no doubt that the Catalan ‘nation’ existed before ←19 | 20→the 12th century], this has to be qualified by the fact that in the middle of the 12th century there would be still no institutional unity. This process of formation was ongoing and became definitively operational between the 12th and 13th centuries:
les élans et progrès de la conscience catalane, loin d’être ‘achevés’ en 1100 ou en 1137, connaissent alors l’ébauche d’une première expression; ils devaient être profondément secoués et accélérés par les conquêtes et les fondations des premiers comtes-rois (c. 1148-1213).
the spirit and progress of the Catalan consciousness, far from ‘being realised’ in 1100 or 1137, were then only at the beginning of the first expression; they had to be profoundly awoken and accelerated by the conquest and foundations of the first count-kings, c. 1148-1213.51
Hence, when recognised historians following an established, scientific methodology are asked about the origin of the Catalan nation, many differing answers are given; in the 9th century, in the second half of the 11th, midway through the 12th or even as culminating on the eve of the 13th. This diversity of responses suggests that the problem lies not with the answers but with the question. The phrasing of the question raises an irresolvable problem. That is, to ask for the nation’s starting point simply reflects a conception of history as a national genealogy, as propounded in various guises at least since the Renaissance humanism.52
One could try to resolve the same issue by establishing the origin and meaning of the name of the country. The difficulty of truly clarifying the provenance of the name Catalonia was recognised as early as Jaume Caresmar in the 18th century53 and Joan Vernet in the 20th ←20 | 21→century,54 a fact which has on the one hand led to rather tentative and ambiguous proposals55 and, on the other, engendered a certain lack of restraint in the formulation of others.
The existence of similar toponyms in the south of France suggests the movement not only of people but of place names. By 1744 the Abbot Expily had already collected examples with regards to Les Catalans ou Escalens [The Catalans or Escalensin] in the diocese of Montalbà.56 The belief that the Catalaunian Plains were located in Occitania adds credence to these claims. In the 16th century Father Mariana makes this assumption and refers to los catalanes, nombrados así de los pueblos Catalaunos puestos en la Gallia Narbonense cerca de la Ciudad de Tolosa [the Catalans, so called after the Catalaunian peoples situated in the Gallia Narbonense near the city of Tolosa].57 In the 16th century Calça believed that Otger Cataló had come from the Catalaunian Plains, and that the name of the country was derived from this anthroponym, as used to be repeated from the beginning of 15th century.58 This opinion is, however, unsustainable because, despite lengthy and renewed historiographic interest shown during the second half of the 19th century,59 the reality is he only lived in the fiction of the contradictory narratives about the origin of ←21 | 22→the power held by the different estates in Catalonia in the 15th century.60 In any case, in that same century Jeroni Pau accepted the Catalan origin in the Catalaunian Plains and the command of Otger Cataló as well as the Gothic origin of the choronym Catalonia.61 He probably borrowed this proposal from Joan Margarit,62 as was the contemporary humanistic fashion in regard to all things related to the Hispania as a whole.63 This explanation maintains currency long afterwards; at the beginning of the 19th century Torres i Amat still believed that the Goths had founded a ‘Gotholaunia’ and that the name of Catalonia was derived from this source,64 and the same explanation is repeated by Bori i Fontestà towards the end of the century.65 Even so, at the beginning of the 17th century Pere Gil understood that the original Gotholand, so called because of the presence of Goths and Alans, could have mutated due to the arrival of the francesos que vingueren de França, de la província nomenada Cathalaunia [French who came from France, from the province called Cathalaunia].66 In 1586 Francesc Comte suggested, although this idea has gained less widespread acceptance, that the choronym of Catalonia derives from other Germanic tribes known as the Chatti.67 Even in 1941, while accepting the correct placing of the Catalaunian Plains in Champagne, Giuliano Bonfante claimed that the name was based on the supposed displacement of a branch of the Catalauni.68 These could be ←22 | 23→associated, as Florián de Ocampo and Jerónimo Zurita have observed, with a people from the most ancient strata of Iberian prehistory: unos pueblos que antiguamente se llamaron Castellanos, que estaban en la antigua Cataluña, entre los Ausetanos y los Lacetanos [some peoples that were known in antiquity as Castellani, who lived in ancient Catalonia, between the Ausetani and the Lacetani].69 It could just as likely have derived from ‘Lacetani’, as put forward by Joaquim Casas i Carbó in 1891,70 picked up again by Ernst Schopf in 191971 and reinterpreted as a learned word by Joan Coromines after 1954.72
From a philological standpoint, the choronym could derive from a toponym. This is pointed out by Valla, referring to Plutarch’s lost city of Catalon73 as its origin, although it could also refer to Castelló, as claimed by Andreu Bosc,74 or even Montcada, as proposed by Aebischer in 1942.75 It could also refer to a fortress from which to open up the country: Joseph M. Piel thought that a northern fortress, named in the original Occitan/ Provençal cata-luonh, meaning “looking afar”, could have been the origin of the name.76 Joan Vernet came to a similar conclusion based on texts by Al-Udri. He thought the Arabic Talunyat could have given its name to a country that opened the way from the east. That being said, neither of the supposed fortresses has ever been located.77←23 | 24→
There again, it could be an adjective to describe a group of people with similar characteristics: Àngel Pariente derived this terra dels muntanyencs [land of the mountain people] from the linguistic sustrate cata;78 or perhaps, as interpreted by Miquel Carrasquer, from the Almogavars’ use of the Arabic alqattâlûn.79 It is precisely due to the fact that the first mention comes in the 12th century, in the context of a military campaign against Muslim Majorcan pirates who preyed upon merchants coming from Christian lands, that Pere Balañà was to plump for an Arabic origin based on the Muslims’ perception of the territory they were sacking as “the land of riches” (Qat`a al-gunya) or “the land of the rich people”(Qat`a al-agniyâ’).80
Enric Guiter also detects a reference to Arabic with regards to the inhabitants of castles.81 This direct derivation from castles is a recurrent hypothesis from the 16th century82 right up to modern times, either due to the large number of castles throughout the country, as posited in the 17th century by Andreu Bosc,83 or from being named after one particular place, as recently put forward by Barroso, Carrobles and Morín.84 At the turn of the twentieth century, Josep Balari had already related the name not so much with that of castles as with that of their commanders, the castlans.85 This explanation was rapidly adopted by historians, and nowadays is the most widely accepted among them, although not held in such great esteem by the majority of philologists.86←24 | 25→
In any case, it is clear that the choronym Catalonia and the demonym català, as well as the anthroponyms Català and Catalana became widespread in the 12th century.87 Significantly, it is in the same century that the country obtained cultural, political and social cohesion88 utilising the completed network of castles as its basic, institutional framework, with a group of castellans in each of them.89
3. The cohesion of the country and the Catalan nation
The crisis of the Carolingian empire was so profound that after Louis II of France granted the counties of Barcelona, Girona and Osona to Wilfred of Cerdanya and Urgell in 878, there was not any other royal designation in the area, because of the incapacity of the monarchy, as similarly succeeded in other territories from Carolingian origin after the death of Charles the Bald in 877.90 The barons of the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula stopped attending far imperial places and challenges and accumulating many titles over different and distant regions, as they had done since the Carolingian establishment. From this time on, they did remain in their respective assigned counties, which became stabilised at the beginning of the 10th century linking different valleys and territoria around the capital of the county.91 Each count based his position on divine right — gratia Dei comes —, keeping the county as his own — comitato nostro — managing the fiscus comitali with full autonomy to promote policies of grants and privatisations, and retaining the power for life, until being succeeded by their own natural descendants. Carolingian authority was respected as a superior referent: up until 952 sporadic visits ←25 | 26→were made to the royal court,92 where they looked for royal charters that protected goods and rights, probably until 986.93 This does not stop the dynamic of consolidation of the full comital power, sanctioned by the end of the Carolingian dynasty in 98794 and stated by definitions as one said by the Count Hugh I of Empúries in 1019: potestatem quam reges ibi pridem habuerint, iste Hugo comes ibi habebat.95 This situation was also perceived from abroad: in the 10th century the Count of Barcelona was treated like a sovereign in Cordoba.96
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Book)
- Publication date
- 2019 (November)
- History of Catalonia History of the State Nationalism Political culture Social History Cultural Studies
- Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 360 pp., 1 tables.