Edited By Flocel Sabaté
Hybridity and Catalonia’s Linguistic Borders: the Case of Najat El Hachmi
University of Glasgow
One of the recurring themes in recent debates on Catalan identity has been about the way in which immigration has changed, or could change, Catalan society and culture. This Autonomous Community has been a popular destination for foreign immigrants to Spain since the late 1990s, with figures showing that by 2009 there were 1.2 million foreign residents in the region out of a total population of 7.3 million.1 Even though the rate of immigration has slowed since Spain felt the full impact of the global financial crisis, it is clear that immigration presents on-going social, linguistic, cultural, economic and political challenges for Catalonia. For example, in the European Values Survey carried out in Catalonia in 2009, 34.5% of those surveyed said that there are now so many immigrants that a vegades em sento com un estrany/una estranya (“I sometimes feel like a foreigner”).2 Even though most people also thought that la vida cultural d’un país no queda destruïda pels immigrants (“the cultural life of a country is not destroyed by immigrants”),3 the responses to these questions reveal that Catalans feel a certain ambivalence towards immigrants.
This preoccupation with immigration also feeds in to the current political situation in Catalonia and debates on its relationship with Spain. For example, Xavier Solano published an article in El Punt Avui in August 2011 in which he said the following:
Tot i que el 23% d’estrangers que...
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