Explaining Scottish and Catalan Secessionist Mobilization in the Framework of the EU. A Comparative Case Study of Minority Nationalist Mobilization in Scotland, Catalonia, Wales, and the Basque Country
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The purpose of this thesis is to compare and assess the mobilization processes leading up to the referendum bids for independence in Scotland and Catalonia. Minority nationalist regions have over the latter decades emerged on the European political playing field as influential actors. However, although demands for self-rule widely have been articulated and pursued, mobilization for independence in democratic and forceful manners have been absent. As such, I argue that the processes in Catalonia and Scotland, despite obvious internal differences, are unique. In understanding them, I further hold that they together can be treated within a limited empirical scope inside the encompassing literature on minority nationalism and secessionism. The thesis establishes a novel theoretical framework for understanding democratic secessionist mobilization and applies it on the positive' cases of Scotland and Catalonia, together with the negative' cases of Wales and the Basque Country, where the outcome of secessionist mobilization has not occurred. The aim is to assess whether common casual mechanisms can be revealed with regards to democratic secessionist mobilization. Hence, it seeks to contribute to the mapping out of a novel theory of the phenomenon. Through a qualitative holistic analysis based on expert interviews and supplemented by secondary source, I find that that the variation of the explanatory factors in each of the cases are too vast for casual inference to be invoked. More broadly, however, I find that the Scottish and Catalan mobilization processes reflect a common dynamic between region and central government. Although it is triggered through divergent factors, I argue that mobilization in both cases have emerged as a consequence of dissatisfaction with statewide parties and state government that accelerates popular democratic support for the independence project.