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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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Henar Criado – 2 Legacies of the Past and Basque Identity after the Democratic Transition


← 62 | 63 → HENAR CRIADO

2Legacies of the Past and Basque Identity after the Democratic Transition

Since the democratic period of the Second Republic in Spain (1931–1936), Basque political identities have been transmitted across generations throughout four decades of the Francoist dictatorship, continuing in the new democratic period that began in the 1970s. This chapter analyses, firstly, to what extent these identities have survived, and secondly, which factors – such as immigration and economic modernization – can explain variations in the survival of these identities when we compare across a sample of different Basque communities, as measured by their voting behaviour over time.

This chapter applies the Basque case to analyse two lines of research in the social sciences, one addressing the historical origins of ethnic identity and the other, the transmission of beliefs and notions of identity across generations. The empirical analysis looks at variations in voting behaviour across villages in the Basque country, comparing votes for nationalist and non-nationalist parties. This is used as a proxy for mobilized identities. The study investigates correlations between identification with Basque nationhood in the 1930s, the 1970s and at present. To avoid endogeneity issues, the quantitative model controls for relevant variables both in the 1930s and 1970s.

Theory and main argument

Throughout the twentieth century the Basque Country experienced a conflict of sovereignty between the Spanish state and social groups that sought autonomy or independence from it. The way in which different ← 63 | 64...

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