Mechanisms of mobilisation: Catalonia’s ‘procés’ and the lost autonomy theories of secession

Karlo Basta*, Astrid Barrio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent work on secession foregrounds the loss of autonomy in explaining support for independence. These theories imply that objective institutional shifts possess inherent meaning for the relevant political actors. In this article we propose that the meaning of institutional change must be actively constructed and cannot be read off the ‘objective’ characteristics of institutional change. Our analysis of secessionist mobilisation in Catalonia (Spain) between 2003 and 2017 specifies two mechanisms which we argue are necessary in order for institutional change to increase support for secession. First, an institutional shift must be framed as a loss. Second, this loss must be perceived as meriting secession. Thus, institutional change ought to be viewed not as an experience-distant objective phenomenon, but an experience-near social fact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalTerritory, Politics, Governance
Early online date4 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • secession
  • institutional change
  • nationalism
  • process tracing
  • interpretivism


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