Territorial politics in flux: autonomy and secession in the United Kingdom and Spain

PhD Thesis


Anderson, P. 2018. Territorial politics in flux: autonomy and secession in the United Kingdom and Spain. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences
AuthorsAnderson, P.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD
Abstract

The UK and Spain are paradigmatic examples of plurinational democracies that have sought to use political decentralisation as a means to manage the autonomy and secessionist aspirations of the states’ national minorities. The existence of vociferous independence movements in Scotland and Catalonia pose a serious challenge to the constitutional integrity of the UK and Spain, but while both states remain intact – at least for the time being – autonomy arrangements have come under increased strain. In light of this, this thesis examines the evolution of territorial politics in the UK and Spain, with particular focus on debates on autonomy and secession in Scotland and Catalonia. It investigates the limitations of existing autonomy arrangements, sketches potential scenarios for the future terrain of territorial politics and ultimately offers some possible avenues for future reform.

The theoretical framework is informed by the theories of liberal nationalism, multinational federalism and power-sharing, principally consociationalism. In this vein, the thesis seeks to make at least two principal contributions. First, a theoretical contribution as relates to further developing and refining the theory of multinational federalism, specifically examining how its theoretical underpinnings can be translated into political reality. Second, the thesis seeks to make an explanatory contribution to improve the understanding of the accommodation of national minorities within plurinational contexts, paying particular attention to the design of autonomy models.

Taking stock of autonomy arrangements in the UK and Spain, the thesis demonstrates the limited nature of existing autonomy models and the necessity of reform to better accommodate national minorities as well as hold the existing states together. Drawing upon normative and empirical debates, I discuss a number of potential reforms to achieve a more coherent and accommodative autonomy model and posit three possible scenarios for the future development of territorial politics in both cases: recentralisation, reformulation and
disintegration.

Year2018
Supplemental file
File Access Level
Restricted
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jun 2019
Accepted2018
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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