Banal populism. Nationalism and everyday victimhood in the Spanish-Catalan clash

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Literature on Catalan separatism has mostly remained in the field of nationalism studies, while little has been said from a perspective centred on populist politics. This chapter builds upon the idea of Catalan independence movement as a populist–nationalist project, insofar as the 2017 referendum of independence has created a fertile ground for a people-versus-elite narrative, which has progressively merged with the more established separatist discourse. Borrowing from Billig’s ‘banal flaggings’, the focus is on a heterogeneous array of discursive performances that have characterized the political debate in the run up to the 2017 Catalan independence referendum and its aftermath. Drawing on discourse and visual analysis, the chapter traces the features of these ‘banal flaggings’ and stresses how emotions—along with shared cultural and linguistic habits—have been linked to the down-up/antagonist narrative, which characterizes populist politics, and have contributed to the conflation with the Catalan nationalist project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Sovereignty
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Populism
  • Nationalism
  • Spain
  • Catalonia
  • Emotion

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