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Basque Nationhood

Towards a Democratic Scenario


Edited By Pedro Ibarra Güell and Åshild Kolås

Debates about Basque self-determination were curtailed for decades by political violence, involving both the actions of ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) and the counter-terrorism activities of Spain and France. In 2011, ETA announced a permanent cessation of operations. Since then, stakeholders have become increasingly aware of the need to rethink Basque nationhood and democratic representation in light of the changing nature of nationhood and citizenship within the European Union. These issues are also topical in the French Basque country, which has witnessed a re-emergence of Basque identity politics in recent years.
This book describes the contemporary re-imagining of Basque nationhood in both Spain and France. Taking a fresh look at the history of Basque nationalist movements, it explores the new debates that have emerged since the demise of non-state militancy. Alongside analysis of local transformations, it also describes the impact of global changes on ideas about Basque self-determination.
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This book is an output of collaborative research for the project ‘Imagined Sovereignties: Frontiers of Statehood and Globalization’, based at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). While the project was centered in Norway, the book has emerged out of a highly interactive and grounded process. Contributors to this volume convened several times, not only for our own exchanges, but to share views and receive feedback from discussants and other participants in the workshops and conferences, and engaged civil society actors.

As one of the project’s institutional partners, the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) hosted a workshop in Barcelona on ‘Imagined Sovereignties under Construction: The Basque Country and Catalunya’ (28 April 2014), bringing together several of the contributors to this volume. Following this, the contributors and project team gathered at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao for a joint workshop with ICIP, PRIO, and the Department of Political Science, University of the Basque Country on ‘Basque Nationhood in a Globalizing World’ (28–29 May 2014). A special session of this event was organized to invite the views and perspectives of Basque civil society, under the title ‘Imagining Basque Sovereignty: Voices from Civil Society’ (30 May 2014). Organizations present at this event were Lokarri (a citizen’s network for agreement and consultation), STEE/EILAS (a teacher’s union), Gure Esku Dago (a grassroots organization advocating ‘the right to decide’), Ekologistan Martxan (an association of socialist ecologists), Bilgune (a feminist organization), Asociación Bertsolaris (a cultural association), Grupo Astra...

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