Date of Thesis

Spring 2019

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Anthropology

Second Major

Spanish

First Advisor

Michelle Johnson

Second Advisor

Clare Sammells

Keywords

Catalonia, Spain, Catalan Independence, Cultural Identity, Language, Key Symbols

Abstract

With a focus on Catalan independence, this thesis looks at how Catalans create and perform their regional identity, and how cultural symbols of Catalan society – food, sports, language, and others – are uniquely situated within the wider Spanish society. Both linguistic anthropology and symbolic/interpretive anthropology inform my writing and support my argument for the importance of language and other cultural symbols to Catalan identity, which are key to understanding Catalan separatism. My research contributes to current conversations in anthropology about the role of cultural identity in creating community. I argue that, in the Catalan case, cultural identity both shapes and is shaped by the ongoing independence movement.

In Spring 2018, I studied abroad in Catalonia, Spain. While living with a host family and taking classes in Barcelona, I observed the cultural practices of those around me. Catalonia has a history of succession in Spain, and after a referendum for independence in 2017, the region has reclaimed its separatist movement and with it, its cultural roots.

In Spring 2018, I conducted my preliminary fieldwork through participant- observation, then, in Fall 2018, I conducted interviews with my informants to gain a deeper insight into perspectives on independence and Catalan difference. The question that framed my researched was: aside from political and economic differences between Catalonia and Spain, how do views about culture and identity influence how people feel about Catalanism and inform the larger discourse of separatism from Spain?

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