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

Garralda Ortega, Ángel (2014). The social construction of the Spanish nation : a discourse-based approach. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Redacted Version

Download (3MB)


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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year