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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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Pedro Ibarra Güell and Iban Galletebeitia Gabiola – Introduction




Basque Nationhood: Towards a Democratic Scenario

Common to all the chapters of this book is that they reflect on a specific national conflict – one that has a long history and is still prevailing in the Basque country. As we shall see, the chapters of this book attempt to introduce into the analysis of this conflict certain perspectives, which not only describe it in new ways, but also provide clues to its possible transformation. These perspectives are equally attentive to the historical configuration of the Basque national identity, such as the role of language in the construction of this identity, and the conflicts – both internal conflicts, and conflicts between Basque communities and the state – which have similarly shaped the affirmation of and demand for Basque sovereignty. This applies not only to what we might term the ‘main’ community of the Basque country – the one that today is legally termed the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Basque: Euskadiko Autonomi Erkidegoa; Spanish: Comunidad Autónoma del País Vasco) – but also to its peripheral communities: the Basque community in the French territory (Basque: Iparralde), the one living in Chartered Community of Navarre (Basque: Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea; Spanish: Comunidad Foral de Navarra), and finally the community of the Basque diaspora, mainly in the USA.

In this introductory chapter we will address the concept of nationhood, both theoretically and specifically, in its practical experience and...

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