Visions of Soveriegnty

Visions of Sovereignty
Nationalism and Accommodation in Multinational Democracies

Jaime Lluch

336 pages | 6 x 9 | 7 illus.
Cloth Oct 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4600-1 | $75.00s | £49.00 | Add to cart
Ebook Oct 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0961-7 | $75.00s | £49.00 | About | Add to cart
A volume in the National and Ethnic Conflict in the 21st Century series
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"Lluch's comprehensive grasp of both theory and history is what distinguishes this powerful study of nationalist movements within multinational states from any competitors. The theoretical reach, the attention to political evolution, and the knowledge of dozens of cases that illuminate his major findings from Catalonia and Québec, are unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon." —James C. Scott, Yale University

"This book is a sophisticated treatment of the moral economy of contemporary substate nationalism in the developed West. Drawing in particular on a wide range of elite and base-level militant interviews, this book emphasizes the diversity of political orientations in these societies and develops an original interpretation of the sources and political consequences of variations in orientations." —Hudson Meadwell, McGill University

"Visions of Sovereignty makes a very original theoretical contribution to our understanding of the concept of sovereignty. The book should be of great interest to comparativists, political theorists, and constitutional law scholars interested in the accommodation of national diversity in multinational democracies." —Alain Gagnon, Université du Québec à Montréal

"This extremely interesting book employs some excellent original material and argumentation. Because it focuses on a range of parties grappling with the constitutional issue, Visions of Sovereignty really adds to the literature on parties and the general phenomenon of constitutional politics and secession." —Peter Lynch, University of Stirling

"The empirical work in Visions of Sovereignty is ambitious and innovative, giving valuable insight into the factors that lead nationalists to opt for different constitutional goals." —Anwen Elias, Aberystwyth University

In the contemporary world, there are many democratic states whose minority nations have pushed for constitutional reform, greater autonomy, and asymmetric federalism. Substate national movements within countries such as Spain, Canada, Belgium, and the United Kingdom are heterogeneous: some nationalists advocate independence, others seek an autonomous special status within the state, and yet others often seek greater self-government as a constituent unit of a federation or federal system. What motivates substate nationalists to prioritize one constitutional vision over another is one of the great puzzles of ethnonational constitutional politics. In Visions of Sovereignty, Jaime Lluch examines why some nationalists adopt a secessionist stance while others within the same national movement choose a nonsecessionist constitutional orientation.

Based on extensive fieldwork in Canada and Spain, Visions of Sovereignty provides an in-depth examination of the Québécois and Catalan national movements between 1976 and 2010. It also elaborates a novel theoretical perspective: the "moral polity" thesis. Lluch argues persuasively that disengagement between the central state and substate nationalists can lead to the adoption of more pro-sovereignty constitutional orientations. Because many substate nationalists perceive that the central state is not capable of accommodating or sustaining a plural constitutional vision, their radicalization is animated by a moral sense of nonreciprocity.

Mapping the complex range of political orientations within substate national movements, Visions of Sovereignty illuminates the political and constitutional dynamics of accommodating national diversity in multinational democracies. This elegantly written and meticulously researched study is an essential read for those interested in the future of multinational and multiethnic states.

Jaime Lluch is a Fellow of the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism at the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. He is editor of Constitutionalism and the Politics of Accommodation in Multinational Democracies. Visions of Sovereignty was awarded the IV Vilaseca i Marcet international book prize by the Institut d'Estudis Autonòmics, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona.

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