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Why Independence? Trends, Causes and Effects of Secessionist Parties' Discourse

Ferreira, Carles (2024) Why Independence? Trends, Causes and Effects of Secessionist Parties' Discourse. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.104551) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:104551)

Language: English

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Recent decades have witnessed a surge of secessionist politics in multinational democracies, political parties being the main actors in fuelling pro-independence demands. Although the academic literature has started to study party strategies and discourse in a multidimensional political space, limited attention has been given to how secessionist parties make their case for constitutional change - and the causes and consequences of their choices. This thesis identifies an increasing trend towards the articulation of socioeconomic arguments for constitutional change cross-case (Belgium, Canada, Spain, and the UK) and over time (1990 2020), particularly when parties are in office. Constitutional change is increasingly presented as means of improving people's lives rather than as an end in itself. Despite this clear trend suggesting parties find this rhetoric useful to boost public support for independence, the results of experimental surveys show that party frames do not seem to influence public opinion. Instead, pre-existing beliefs and national identity largely explain constitutional preferences. These findings suggest that secessionist parties might trade office-seeking goals over policy when choosing their campaigns. By presenting independence as a means of achieving better standards of living, secessionist parties likely aim to increase their electoral appeal and to enhance their reputation as competent ruling parties vis-à-vis their state-wide competitors.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Dardanelli, Paolo
Thesis advisor: Seyd, Ben
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.104551
Uncontrolled keywords: Comparative Politics; Framing; Nationalism, Regional Parties, Secession, Territorial Politics
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2024 14:10 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2024 10:48 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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