Multiculturalism, Identities and National Uncertainties in Southwest Europe: The Rise of Xenophobia and Populism in Catalonia (Spain)
The analysis of the discourses about the migratory threat takes a special feature in the Catalan case, where there is an historical strong nationalist movement that seeks to defend its own Catalan national and cultural identity against Spain. A nationalist discourse that has been self-defined as a "civic nationalism" because it claims that has historically receipted and integrated the different peoples that have arrived at its territory. But it has showed in some moments a clear xenophobic discourse against immigration, especially during the 60s and 70s, against the massive arrival of Spanish migrants that was produced at that time in Catalonia (Clua 2011). Now it seems that it reappears in public sphere, to achieve political representation at last local elections (22/5/2011).
I refer mainly to the rise of PxC (Platform for Catalonia, a xenophobic far-right party) but I also refer to some candidates for mayor that are members of the PP (Popular Party, a moderate conservative party that has won recent national elections in Spain). These candidates have used a discourse of rejection to the immigration (and the problems of crime and insecurity that this supposedly implied) to win elections in cities as Badalona. But the thesis of the paper is that, before the public presence of this populist discourse against immigration (or behind or underneath), there is evidence of previous exclusion actions, that were already incubating racist discourses in towns and cities of Catalonia with a significant immigrant presence.