Nationalist Networks: How Civil Society Influences Nationalist Movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country
Political parties in both Catalonia and the Basque country challenge the state by seeking a higher degree of autonomy and self-determination, but they do not operate alone. They are embedded in social institutional networks which may significantly impact whether parties present moderate or radical claims. This research attempts to unveil these influences and to clarify the relationships between civil society organizations (CSOs) and political parties within nationalist social movements.
Despite strong historical similarities between the cases, they seem to differ greatly in the size and influence of nationalist CSOs. The contrast of this comparison should point out the key outcomes of the influence, or lack thereof, of CSOs in parties and other political and social agents.
This project aims to answer four interlinked questions:
What is the relationship between CSOs and political parties within a nationalist movement? More specifically, how do CSOs affect the capacity of parties to negotiate self-government goals with central governments, and how do they alter nationalist parties’ positions on self-determination, independence, and autonomy?
How independent are CSOs within the nationalist movements and what are the characteristics of CSOs that successfully influence the strategies of nationalist parties and the decision-making of political elites?
What are the most significant forms of impact (e.g., enhancing resources, mobilization capacity, influence through personal linkages) of CSOs in nationalist political parties?
Under what conditions does the influence of CSOs generate moderation or radicalization and what structural, cultural, and institutional elements foster their growth within the nationalist movement?
To identify the conditions under which CSOs influence political parties and nationalist movements the project has three core objectives:
To research the characteristics of civic networks and civil society organizations related to nationalist movements in both the Basque Country and Catalonia (e.g., their goals, size, intra-ethnic bonding, and inter-ethnic bridging activities) and to map the relationships between them, with parties, and with the regional and state governments.
To understand and assess the impact of civil society in the development of the nationalist movements, in the setting of their agenda and their influence over the political elite’s decision-making.
To create an empirically based theory of the relationships between stateless nationalism and civil society that can be extrapolated to other cases.