My research is a comparative study of the states of France and Spain which aims to assess the attitudes and actions of both central governments in response to minority nationalist political mobilisation, using several regions with distinct identities as case studies, in order to evaluate the relative successes and failures of measures taken by the two states in response to such movements.
Provisionally, the research will contrast the cases of two regions with strong historical identities that offer no current threat to the complexion of the two states (Brittany and Galicia) with those of two national minorities seeking enhanced autonomy or independence (Corsica and Catalonia) with additional reference to territorial issues in other zones (e.g. the Basque Country), so as to establish a competent assessment of varying state approaches and their contemporary outcomes. This will rely on an examination of multi-level governance and devolution in both states, including particular areas of sensitivity to cultural minorities such as education and language policy, around which much of the conflict is centred.
The study seeks to draw conclusions for the evaluation of Welsh nationalism and UK devolution in the modern era. This analysis of the issues of multi-level governance and minority nationalist mobilisation in Western Europe will provide an apposite reference point for assessing a potentially resurgent Welsh nationalism and/or possible problems surrounding devolution triggered by the departure of the UK from the European Union.