Multiple identities in decentralized Spain: the case of Catalonia

Noviembre 1997

Luis Moreno, Ana Arriba y Araceli Serrano

Publicado en C. Moya et al., comps., Escritos de teoría sociológica en homenaje a Luis Rodríguez Zúñiga, 847-864, Madrid: CIS, 1992.

Studies concerned with the development of technologies have lately undergone a great impulse. Many of them have been approached from diverse academic perspectives with long-standing traditions and a great number of them have also benefited from the assumption of new conceptual perspectives. In this respect, history, sociology, and philosophy of technology constitute paradigmatic examples. An analysis of the evolution of these various academic paradigms in recent years is carried out, although succinctly, in the first part of this Working Paper.

The second part of the Working Paper deals with the issue of social research on public perception with the particular case of the development of biotechnology. Research on the public perception of technologies is a useful tool of a prospective and pre-formative nature which plays an important role as a via media between descriptive analyses (sociology and economy of technical change) and value-oriented studies (technology assessment and science and technology policy analysis).

In recent times, the citizens have registered a growing concern over the regulation, management and elaboration of technological policies. This development demands a comprehensive knowledge of the interaction between society and technology. Studies on public perception are highly important not only for the analysis and interpretation of

future scenarios in the development of technologies, but also for the task of identifying the kind of public policies required to avoid unwanted effects and for the orientation of technological advancement towards ends considered as beneficial by society as a whole.

The persistence of a dual self-identification expressed by citizens in the Spanish Comunidades Autónomas (nationalities and regions) is one of the main features of centre-periphery relations in democratic Spain. This 'dual identity' or 'compound nationality' incorporates -in variable proportions, individually or subjectively asserted- both state/national and ethnoterritorial identities with no apparent exclusion. It characterises the ambivalent and dynamic nature of spatial politics in decentralized Spain. A succinct review of the main developments in Spain's contemporary history is carried out in order to provide a background for the discussion of the various identities expressed by citizens in Catalonia. A segmentation analysis reviews the various forms of Catalan self-identification, among which ‘duality’ is to be underlined.