Spanish nationalism - Ethnic or civic?

D Muro*, A Quiroga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, it has been a common complaint among scholars to acknowledge the lack of research on Spanish nationalism. This article addresses the gap by giving an historical overview of 'ethnic' and 'civic' Spanish nationalist discourses during the last two centuries. It is argued here that Spanish nationalism is not a unified ideology but it has, at least, two varieties. During the 19th-century, both a 'liberal' and a 'conservative-traditionalist' nationalist discourse were formulated and these competed against each other for hegemony within the Spanish market of ideas. In the 20th-century, these two discourses continued to be present and became backbones of different political regimes. However, after the emergence of the Basque and Catalan nationalist movements, Spanish nationalists unified as a counter-force to these regional sources of identity. In fact, one can see 20th-century Spanish nationalism as a dialectical struggle between the centre and the periphery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-29
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Basque country
  • Catalonia
  • nation
  • patriotism
  • regionalism
  • Spain


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