Theor(1  recent spiral in the number of active separatist movements across
Europe hasn’t gone overlooked
by political commentators.
According to Business Insider (2017), the number of active separatistor(2  movements across twenty-four states in Europe stands at sixty-seven and
for many, the rise in intrastate tensions is quickly altering the geopolitical
structure of Europe. Drawing from the all-recent independence referendums in Catalan (2017) and
Scotland (2014), which this research paper will focus on, the driving forces
behind irredentist motivations
falls down first and foremost to questions over national identity. For example,
national identity for Catalans is a problem in a multifarious state like Spain, where the language
and cultural peculiarities in the periphery juxtaposes that of the core. This
has consequently led to an increase in support for independent/ nationalist
parties over time, with political figures who represent such parties shedding
light on how greater autonomy will coincide with greater benefits
socioeconomically. This research paper will also examine how pivotal moments
such as, independence referendums and financial crises are intrinsically tied
to the growing desire for independence.

 

Literature
Review

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This section of the research paper discusses previousor(3  literature on the reasons for public support for territorial
independence in 21st century Europe. A number of literature hold
national identity as the source of the all-recent drive for independence in Europe and look
at this idea of national identity from either a historian’s or social scientist’s
standpointor(4 . This research paper will focus on the
latter, who argue that national identity is not ‘naturally given’ and is a
result of ‘over-identification with one tradition’ (Golubovic?, 2010). In an objective sense, all members of
the social unit will
share the same properties such as symbols, language, religion, common history,
values and traditions’ (Inac, 2013) and in turn, the individual internalisesor(5  the values of that particular society,
while directly or
indirectly disregarding other forms of social expressions. As
a result, the drive for nationalism comes from strong national identity, with White
(2010) defining nationalism in three parts:

1.     People identify deeply with a community

2.     Such people believe that the community
should have a state

3.     People are willing to defend this state
with their lives

Thus,
if the laws and institutions in the political core are the results of cultural
processes, it can be difficult for the individuals on the periphery or from a
different cultural background to accept them (Mitchell, 2012).

For
example, the Volkgeist theory refers to the “spirit” and “national character”
of a group of people. The variations between Catalonians and Spaniards stems
from the self-reliance, proactivity and parsimony of Catalonians (Llobera,
2004), thus reifying why
they want to reclaim their national identity and be a sovereign state because
of their differing values. However, modernists have questioned whether sociocultural differences are/
explain the underlying reasons for the rise in support for regional
parties across Europe. For modernists, the strategies of nationalists reflected
patterns of industrialisation and nationalism itself was perceived as a derivative idea of the
functional necessities of industrialisation (Newman, 2000). With one
region developing more rapidly than the rest of the country, this results in
such regions being more likely to want autonomy, as they view themselves as
self-sufficient. However, some argue that the modernist theory is arguably flawed, as a
national culture is the first step in the push towards independence. It promotes
inclusiveness, citizen compliance and thus, legitimises political rule (Harty,
2001).

The rise
in territorial independence has been effective because of the increasing
mouthpiece independent party members are for the masses. In essence, they are
the voice of reason for the people of the peripheral and seek policies that
will favour irredentist supporters. Politicians in some of Europe’s active
separatist regions agree that they ‘lack the appropriate decision-making power
in important domains such as taxation and public spending’ (Noble, 2014).
Through use of rhetoric’s such as “the way forward” by Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party
(SNP) and “we make independence possible” by the Catalan Solidarity for Independence
party, they have been able to inspire feelings of confidence into
pro-independence supporters and shed light on how secession will achieve self-determination
over political and fiscal policies. Evidently, this is expressed through the increase in vote shares for pro-independence
parties

Design
of the project

The
design of this project will focus on how differences in identity has driven
independence movements in Europe, focusing particularly on Catalonia and
Scotland. In Spain, a state that is known for its diversity, Catalonians have
increasingly gone from a large part of the population overwhelmingly
identifying with both the Spanish and Catalonian way of life, to just
identifying with the Catalonian culture in the last decade. Similarly, in
Scotland, their identification to British culture has also seen a change,
though it is not as pronounced as the Spain-Catalonia case. I will then lightly
touch on economic factors and see if this acts as an underlying driving force
behind pro-independence movements, using statistical data.

Research
Design

This section details the method I will use to gather
my data. As aforementioned, national identity is an important factor pushing
pro-independence movements in Europe. I will use secondary quantitative data to
investigate the underlying reasons behind why Catalonia has gone from an
increasingly dual identity state
to a state that only
identifies with one culture and one way of life. The graph below looks at the ways identity in
the Catalan region has changed between 1979 to 2010. As my research question is
‘what are the causes of public support for territorial independence in Europe
in the 21st century?’, I am going to identify periods of high
association of Catalonian identity and see if this is linked to specific events
that took place in Spain and see if this was a contributing factor to the
increase in Catalonian identity.

 or(1Write this introduction properly with
signposts

 or(2Or secessionist?

 or(3Next bit I can write builds upon previous
research undertaken/ conducted by ___

 or(4Should I list these literatures?

 or(5And practices?

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