Benchmarking Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country from the Devolution, Independence and Social Innovation Perspective: City-Regional Small Nations Beyond Nation-States
Posted: 18 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 16, 2015
The year 2014 was remarkable for the European Union with regards to how city-regional ‘small nations’ (Keating, 2014) engaged in democratic experimentation on the right to decide their own future beyond their referential nation-states. Key examples include Scotland’s and Catalonia’s pursuits of independence from the United Kingdom and Spain, respectively. A similar situation occurred in the Basque Country as a consequence of the region increasingly overcoming the political violence that dominated the previous era. There, a democratic debate regarding devolution, constitutional change, independence, and new political relationship with nation-state Spain has arisen.
Regardless the political outcomes, consequences, and meanings in the three aforementioned small nations, the differences among each case’s political culture and history are noteworthy. Even more noteworthy are their different means for accommodating a new strategic city-regional governance pathway (Herrschel, 2014) through implicit social innovation processes. Social innovation processes (Moulaert, 2013) depict the way in which stakeholders in a given city-regional small nation — such as political parties, social movements, corporate powers, and media, among others — are led in one direction or another as a whole.
To what extent is the starting point of the devolution for each city-regional small nation similar according to its governance, history, and policies? What are the potential political scenarios for each city-regional small nation as a result of the de/recentralisation attitude of its referential nation-states? What are the most relevant strategic social innovation processes occurring in each case?
This paper aims to benchmark how the Basque Country, Catalonia and Scotland are strategically moving forward beyond their referential nation-states in a diverse way by formulating devolution and even independence in unique terms, as a consequence of the dynamics between stakeholders in each location. This paper is part of a broader research project entitled ‘Benchmarking Future City-Regions.’
Keywords: independence, devolution, recentralisation, social innovation, city-regions and small nations
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