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The Catalan Nation and Identity Throughout History


Edited By Àngels Casals Martinez and Giovanni C. Cattini

The present book is a complex approach to the elements that built the Catalan national identity, which can only be analyzed through its complexity and longue durée historical times.
Regarding medieval and early modern centuries, the territorial construction, law and state are presented, along with the complexity added by the appearance of composite monarchies in the 16th century, and taking into account the significance of constructing a literary and historiographic tradition to define national character.
Regarding modern centuries, the authors do not ignore the importance of socioeconomic dimensions in a very complex diversity which flows both in the intellectual and political world and in the dissemination of identity through the mass media in an international level as well.
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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...

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