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Author: Andy O'Cain

Democracy in Catalonia, Spain

Updated Wednesday, 22 May 2019
In Catalonia, young people are questioning what democracy means and challenging the authority of the Spanish state.

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Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in the north-east of Spain, with Barcelona as its regional capital.

On October 1st 2017, thousands of Catalans took part in a referendum organised by the regional government asking whether Catalonia should be independent of Spain. The referendum process had been ruled unconstitutional by the Spanish courts and the Spanish central government had pledged to stop it going ahead. On the day, many people were caught up in violent clashes between those Catalans who wanted to take part in the vote and the national police forces intent on stopping them.

In this video, you’ll encounter the voices of some young people in Catalonia who feel that their voice isn’t being heard within the current democratic system. They explain why they became involved in a campaign for independence that they believe is also a campaign for democracy.

You’ll also hear the thoughts of two academics who explore the historical reasons for the current breakdown of trust between the central government in Spain and those pushing for independence in Catalonia.



This video forms part of a new Open University module ‘DD316 Modern Political Ideas’. DD316 explores what political ideas are, how they are generated and the impact they have locally, nationally and internationally in shaping our world.

‘Explainer: what you need to know about Catalonia’ by Georgina Blakeley  & Christine Drabwell 


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