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The social construction of the Spanish nation : a discourse-based approach

Garralda Ortega, Ángel (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis analyses Spanish nation-building from a social-constructionist perspective assuming that nations are historically evolving social constructs and that nationhood is a largely modern phenomenon with pre-modern antecedents. A theoretical model for studying nationhood is proposed based on a critique of nationalism theories, Giddens’s social structuration model (Giddens 1984) refined by Sewell (2005); modernisation theories and discourse analytical approaches. A discourse-oriented methodology is proposed: Spanish nation-building, conceptualised as semiotically-mediated social action situated across time-space, is analysed nomothetically and ideographically, both in its broad historical context and in connection with recent narratives extracted from a large purpose-built corpus of newspaper articles. Several factors behind Spain’s problematic nation-building are identified in the socio-historical analysis: an unyielding geography inhibiting communications, a long history of political and cultural fragmentation, a late and uneven modernisation and the lack of hegemonic national narratives in the context of a long history of confrontation between different identities. The corpus-based discourse analytical approach employed in the latter part of the analysis illustrates the potential offered by corpus-assisted discourse studies in social research, revealing that a widely-accepted Spanish identity discourse from the centre’s perspective has not yet emerged.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ward, Aengus and Teubert, Wolfgang
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Modern Languages (Hispanic Studies)
Keywords:Spanish nation-building, social constructionism, socio-historical analysis, corpus-based discourse analysis
Subjects:PB Modern European Languages
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:4989
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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