Blog Political Science and Public Administration

Jordi Muñoz (“Juan de la Cierva” researcher - UAB)

This empirical examination of the evolution of the determinants and the contents of Spanish national identity shows how the transition and democratic consolidation have had a deep impact over Spanish citizens’ national identity, even if some elements of the previous regimes’ nationalism persist in contemporary Spanish national identity. The nationalism of the political elites appears as the main force shaping citizens’ identity. The main conclusion, thus, is that national identity is a political attitude and, as such, is largely endogenous to the political process even if the role of family and cultural variables remains important.


The initial questions were: Has a democratic Spanish patriotism substituted the old, Francoist National-Catholicism? To what extent has the Spanish nationalism changed alongside the transition to democracy? And, more importantly, have these changes reshaped the bases and contents of Spanish citizens’ attachment to Spain?


National identity has often been thought of as a stable attitude that even beyond regime changes provides a reservoir of support for a state. However, often its social bases as well as its contents are shaped or monopolized by specfic regimes and a transition might require its re-building, especially when a country moves from a nationalistic authoritarian regime to a democratic one. How do these processes work? What are the mechanisms that drive the change of the mass national identity alongside a process of democratization? Tracing such a process might help us to understand an often overlooked component of democratic transitions and, perhaps more importantly, will uncover some of the mechanisms through which national identity is built and, eventually, reconstructed.


This dissertation aimed at analyzing these processes through the study of the Spanish case. The dissertation includes a discussion on how the elite’s Spanish nationalism has evolved in recent decades, as well as an empirical analysis of how that is reflected in citizen’s attitudes. It includes the analysis of existing surveys (ISSP, WVS) to trace the evolution of the social bases of Spanish identity, as well as the analysis of data from a Q-methodological study and an original survey conducted in 2007 (CIS2667) from which I derive a typology of Spanish national identities and explore its determinants.

Dissertation: From National Catholicism to Democratic Patriotism? An Empirical Analysis of Contemporany Spanish National Identity. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 2009

Article: Jordi Muñoz (2009) “From National-Catholicism to Democratic Patriotism? Democratization and reconstruction of national pride: the case of Spain (1981-2000)” Ethnic and Racial Studies 32(4), Pages 616 - 639