Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Towards a Common Public Culture? Boundaries to Belonging in Catalonia

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Abstract:  The tension between the will to build a collective national identity and the increasing diversity of today’s societies is one of the main challenges facing nation‐states today. Catalan society, being no exception, also faces many challenges as diasporic identities and transnational loyalties proliferate, weakening both citizens’ roots and their need to belong. The present article aims to identify situations and social spaces of discrimination and explicit/implicit racism, existing mechanisms and responses aimed at avoiding and dealing with these situations, and the groups they affect most in Catalan society. Through a participatory research, 23 focus groups were carried out—of between six and 12 participants—in eight territories (Pàmies et al., 2020). Results reveal diverse areas of discrimination, ranging from the violation of civil and political rights to that of economic, social, and cultural rights. The situations described and named by some as examples of micro‐racism complicate the sense of belonging for many citizens, challenging the real possibility of achieving a pluricultural collective identity. Thus, to promote belonging and build a common public culture with which everyone feels identified, as promoted by official speeches, it is necessary to recognize plurality and diversity and promote citizen participation—and representation—in devising public actions, as well as encourage interactions that emphasize all common and shared aspects in a context conditioned by the reactive fragmentation of identity politics.

Keywords:  Catalan identity; Catalonia; collective identity; diversity; pluricultural identity; sense of belonging



© Angelina Sánchez‐Martí, Jordi Pàmies, Alejandro Caravaca, Berta Llos. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.