Trajectories and functions of Catalan nationalism since the 19th century

  • Hans-Jürgen Puhle


This article attempts to outline, in a brief summary, the outstanding features of the longue dur trajectories of the movements, concepts, alliances and politics of Catalan nationalism and their functions for Catalan and Spanish politics through the last century-and-a-half. It tries to characterise the basic lines of the social background, the interests, programme and ideology of the Catalan nationalists, and to look into their achievements and limitations, their internal cleavages and divisions, and their (possible or impossible) alliances with Spanish political forces, and with one another. Particular attention is given to processes of change and to the respective thresholds involved, but also to a significant number of continuities through the various stages of Catalanism and Catalan nationalism from its beginning to the present. Among the continuities can be found divided actors (and rivalries), the long dominance of party politics and pacts (pactisme), and the insistence on self-determination. The most important changes are reflected in an overall movement, over time, from regionalism to autonomism to separatism, usually mixed with characteristic elements of federalism, and notwithstanding the existence of overlapping, parallel and hybrid strategies. The article finishes with an outlook to the threats and models for the 21st century.

Author Biography

Hans-Jürgen Puhle

Hans-Jürgen Puhle is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the Goethe Universit Frankfurt am Main. He earned his Ph.D. at the FU Berlin (1965) and received the Habilitation from the University of Mster (1973). He has held previous appointments in history and political science at the universities of Mster and Bielefeld, and has been fellow or visiting professor at several renowned universities. He has published over thirty books and over 150 scholarly articles in the fields of European, North American and Latin American social and political history, comparative politics, trajectories of modernisation, political parties and movements, state functions in welfare capitalism, nationalism and populism, regime transformation and problems of democratic consolidation. His latest book is Protest, Parteien, Interventionsstaat. Organisierte Politik und Demokratieprobleme im Wandel (2015). For more details, see: