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Challenging Rules: A study of minority nationalist party rhetoric and strategy in Catalonia, Corsica and Scotland

WALKER, EDWARD (2019) Challenging Rules: A study of minority nationalist party rhetoric and strategy in Catalonia, Corsica and Scotland. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Final Thesis Text (PDF)) - Accepted Version


Political norms and rules, whether discursive or formally embodied in constitutions and laws, regulate and constrain the spectrum of legitimate political action for political actors. In the case of major political principles and constitutional law, these norms and rules are particularly difficult to challenge and change. For most political parties operating broadly within the boundaries of their respective domestic political system, this is seldom an issue. In recent years however, several countries across Europe have faced a significant challenge from minority nationalist parties seeking recognition, major constitutional reforms and, in some cases, political independence for the territory they claim to represent. In this thesis, I analyse the various ways in which minority nationalist parties seek to challenge the rules and norms that prevent the legitimate realisation of their political goals. Simultaneously, I also analyse the ways in which the normative framework within which these parties operate domestically affects the nature of their political discourse and demands, with various parties adopting different discourses and emphasising different demands depending on the nature of the political system within which they operate. To successfully challenge established norms and rules, minority nationalist parties have also drawn upon different tools to legitimate their demands, ranging from the pursuit of political recognition to domestic electoral success and international lobbying within European institutions. Looking at these various elements, and drawing on three major European case studies (Catalonia, Corsica and Scotland), I develop a framework to analyse and understand why minority nationalist parties ‘speak’ and ‘act’ the way they do, providing a starting point for further, norm-focused comparative research on the fundamental challenge brought forward by minority nationalist parties in Europe and in other regions of the world.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:nationalism; Europe; Scotland; Catalonia; Corsica; self-determination; norms;
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Jun 2019 10:17

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