Edited By Flocel Sabaté
Catalan National Identity in the 18th Century. The War of the Spanish Succession and the Bourbon Regime
The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the national identity of Catalans during the 18th century, with special attention on the period of the War of the Spanish Succession. To do this, we shall focus on the main features displayed by the national/patriotic collective identities1 and their corresponding patriotisms2 in Europe and the Old Regime and apply them to Catalonia during this time period3. Calling these collective identities national forces us to take a stance in the complex debate on the ← 185 | 186 →contemporariness or ancientness of nations4, without losing sight of the fact that ultimately this is a conceptual debate that depends both on the meaning we assign to words or expressions today and the historical meanings they had in the past5.
We first consider national or patriotic identities in the late Middle Ages and Modern Age, at least those found in Western Europe, as collective identities of human groups whose individuals, for a variety of reasons, felt like, identified themselves as and were identified by others as members of a more or less abstract entity with more political than cultural-linguistic underpinnings, called terms like patria (“fatherland”) or “nation” depending on the place, time and context. This generated in these individuals feelings of loyalty to this entity, its symbolic elements and other people regarded as fellow members.
Secondly, we view the formation and consolidation of patriotic identities, at least in the aforementioned territorial sphere, as long-term historical processes whose roots were...
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