Nations of distinction: analysis of nationalist perspectives on constitutional change in Quebec, Catalunya, and Scotland
Bennett, Andrew Peter Wallace
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This thesis is a comparative analysis of nationalism in Quebec, Scotland, and Catalunya and the perspectives of nationalist parties towards questions of constitutional change within the broader Canadian, United Kingdom, and Spanish states. It is the goal of this thesis to analyse how minority national groups view themselves within the constitutional framework of multinational states and what arguments they make for greater recognition for their national communities. All of the nationalist parties under discussion argue that the distinct position of the minority national group is not sufficiently recognised within the state. How this recognition can be achieved is of primary concern to nationalists and shapes their approach towards constitutional dialogue. Nationalist parties adopt various approaches towards constitutional reform in an effort to achieve either a reform of the existing state or the secession of the minority national group's territory from the state. This thesis analyses these approaches as advocated by the parties themselves and by other political and academic participant-observers. In examining the Catalan, Quebecois, and Scottish cases this thesis compares the unique asymmetrical arrangements that each state has adopted as a means to accommodate the minority national groups. Many nationalists argue that this evolving asymmetry is insufficient to meet the goal of greater recognition, leading to their advocating various federal, con federal, and secessionist options. After considering the various constitutional options that are presented this thesis argues that promoting a higher degree of constitutional and administrative asymmetry is an effective means of bringing greater recognition to Scotland, Quebec, and Catalunya within the state. The qualitative analysis in this thesis is based upon original research and a review of available secondary source material. The original research consists largely of data obtained from personal interviews and from an analysis of party documents. The personal interviews were conducted in Scotland, Quebec, and Catalunya with political participant-observers, including members of nationalist parties and individuals involved in developing constitutional policy and with academic participant-observers who specialise in constitutional politics. The thesis is divided into four sections. The first section includes the introduction that outlines the research method and Chapter 1 that examines various theoretical approaches to nationalism. The second section lays the groundwork for the following two sections. It consists of chapters two to four, which examine the historical evolution of nationalism in Quebec, Catalunya, and Scotland from its antecedents to the late twentieth century, paying particular attention to the evolution of nationalist political thought. The third section consisting of chapters five to seven is the main analytical section. In each of these chapters the constitutional framework of each state and the nationalist response are analysed through an examination of constitutional documents and party manifestos, leaders' speeches, and other policy material. Data obtained from interviews is analysed here. The fourth and final section is made up of the conclusion and a comparative analytical chapter that draws the three cases together through an analysis of various constitutional options in the three multinational states.