Sub-constitutional dialogues of national recognition: a comparative study of Quebec-Canada and Catalonia-Spain




Gunn, Alexander

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This thesis provides a comparative analysis of two recent sub-constitutional acts of recognition extended by the Canadian and Spanish governments towards Quebec and Catalonia, respectively. Specifically, the thesis examines a 2006 resolution by the Canadian House of Commons recognizing “that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada” and the 2006 Catalan Statute of Autonomy, an act that contained similarly ambiguous language regarding nationhood and wider state unity. Both acts are conceptualized as the by-products of an ongoing tension that characterize the Quebec-Canada and Catalonia-Spain relationships, between a rigid and monistic interpretation of the Canadian and Spanish states that operates at the constitutional level, and a more open and multinational interpretation that operates at the sub-constitutional level. The thesis concludes that both the Canadian and Spanish states could benefit from reconceptualising national recognition struggles as an ongoing and necessary feature of free and democratic multinational societies.



Quebec, Catalonia, Canada, Spain, nationalism, recognition