Catalonia: Nation Building Without a State


258 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-19-541481-0
DDC 946'.7




Reviewed by John Walker

John Walker is a professor of Spanish at Queen’s University.


The notion of a distinct society is familiar to Canadians. A similar
situation has prevailed in Spain, which has several autonomous regions
including Andalusia, the Basque country, and Catalonia. In this timely
study, Kenneth McRoberts of Glendon College chronicles the long history
of Catalonia—characterized as a “nationality” in the Spanish
constitution—as a distinct society. With the aid of maps and tables,
he describes the rise of Catalan nationalism, the transition to
democracy after Franco’s death, attempts to secure Catalonia’s
autonomy, its rapprochement with the European Community, the social
changes, the importance of the Catalan language and culture (Catalonia
has its own flag and national anthem), and the treatment of the national
identity. The chapters on culture, language, sport, and arts are of
particular interest to general readers familiar with the 1992 Olympic
Games in Barcelona and Catalan artists like José Carreras and Monserrat

McRoberts’s well-researched, eminently readable text is supplemented
by 43 pages of notes and a 12-page bibliography. Historians and citizens
alike can learn much from this entertaining and informative history of a
nation without a state.


McRoberts, Kenneth., “Catalonia: Nation Building Without a State,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024,