Catalan Independence

An Elitist Perspective in a Bottom-Up Movement

  • Jianna Marin MacEwan University


The politics of polarization are intensified in secessionist movements wherein ones culture and identity is questioned; Catalonia is no exception. The drive for independence from Spain has produced divisions between citizens who support or oppose the movement, regardless of their locality. Polarization within the political and academic spheres has only amplified the divergent positions, resulting in echo chambers of stagnant contention and limited opportunities for impactful dialogue. This paper adopts a parallel data collection approach, relying on the elite interviews and political claim analysis to establish the inducement on both sides. We propose an innovative approach to the Catalan crisis through a top-down process via the medias framing and problem definitions. The first section provides an in-depth review and organization of previous literature in order to identify the medias role in framing the issue, the motivations of independence, the position of elites, and the role of the European Union (EU). The second section develops the methodological framework for this project: the elite interviews and political claim coding. The third section cross-analyzes the data sets to rationalize whether the medias framing of the issue has indeed impacted citizens’ perceptions and deepened polarization. Finally, the last section establishes a theoretical framework to examine the academic, social and political implications our findings will have moving forward, specifically focusing on the continued role of the media in framing such prevalent issues.


Faculty Mentor: Andrea Wagner

Department: Political Science (Honours)