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Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-15-2019

Publication Citation

26 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 31 (2019)

Abstract

Different kinds of evidence are put forward to make an argument and justify political action by agents situated in diverse social, cultural, and power positions. The Catalan political conflict is a case in point. The central Spanish government's arguments are mostly of a juridical nature and rest on the anti-constitutionality of the Catalan government and other civil society organizations' actions. Instead, most arguments of Catalan supporters of independence are based on historical interpretations of grievances referring to national institutions and identity. Supporters of independence, under the politically inspired actions of major civil society associations, have mobilized hundreds of thousands of Catalans in massive demonstrations and have used media in a very efficient manner. The judicial responses to the secessionist process have used legality (police, prison) to allow repression, while the repeated anti-constitutional actions of the Catalan government have been justified as legitimated by popular support and by a historical accumulation of grievances. At the same time, repeated elections show that Catalan citizens are divided and have very different positions regarding their support for independence. This differentiation can be mapped according to social and economic criteria and almost literally projected in spatial coordinates. This other group of Catalans tried to mobilize to publicly show their disagreement over the secessionist project. Yet their arguments appear as reactive rather than based on any alternative evidence. Hence, they are co-opted by the central Spanish various governments' juridical position, which supports a unified Spanish national identity couched in the Constitution of 1978. This paper argues that an important aspect of the political confrontation is being played as an evidence struggle where the various social actors produce different kinds of evidence to justify their actions in the political arena and mobilize support.

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